Direction Dreams: ‘A good story doesn’t need a star’
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations and this week it is the assistant director of Vasanthabalan, G Rajendhiran
G Rajendhiran, is the assistant director of Vasanthabalan and he is currently working on two as-yet-untitled movies. The key responsibility of Rajendhiran is casting
Why filmmaking? How did your journey commence?
I was affected by Angadi Theru, and decided to pursue filmmaking. I made a short film — Kuppaiyin Medai — and left my hometown for Chennai. I went straight to Vasanthabalan‘s office. He liked my work and thus, began my journey.
What’s the oddest experience you’ve had as an assistant director?
Once, I went to scout a location and do some research about the local customs of the place. While there, I encountered a drunkard who grabbed my shirt and tried to physically assault me. I got away thankfully.
What do you like the most about Vasanthabalan?
He treats assistant directors like his family. He shares everything with us. Also, he has never lost his cool. Even if he’s disappointed, he doesn’t express it vocally, and instead, only communicates it through glances and body language.
What have you learned about films from him?
The research work that goes into structuring every scene. That every story, every script has a grammar, and we have to stay true to that.
What is the best thing about being an AD?
I’ve been working with Vasanthabalan for three years and let me tell you one thing. Among all those who work on a film, it is the assistant director who relates the most to the hardships and struggles that a director undergoes. It’s a privilege to work that closely with someone you look up to.
What’s one area of filmmaking that you are having a tough time with?
Editing. It is really tough to chop out scenes when you know the tremendous effort that went into shooting it. But it’s a necessary step to get the right output.
What are your future and upcoming projects?
I’ve finished scripting a romantic film.
Who’s the dream cast of your debut film?
I think that casting a big star for your debut film is a mistake. Belief in your script and focus on your screenplay should be the focus. Actors need to play characters. The character should never give way to the hero. A good story doesn’t need a star.
Debut films are often the result of compromises. What’s one area you will never be willing to compromise on?
I will compromise on the cast. But I don’t think any aspiring director will ever compromise on the story and the soul of his film.