Direction Dreams: 'Rajinikanth asked why I didn't introduce my family to him'
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations, and this week it is Ra Parthi, assistant director of Pa Ranjith
An interview with Ra Parthi
Director worked with:Pa Ranjith
Key responsibilities: Co-direction, and overall responsibility for every aspect of filming
Films worked working on: Kaala, Kabali, Madras
Why filmmaking? How did your filmmaking journey start?
Growing up, I was surrounded by films. In fact, my family is so into cinema that I was named after Parthiban because I was born on the day when his film released. Right from my young age I've been passionate about drawing. I used to sketch stories and the thirst to narrate stories through the visual medium inspired me to take up filmmaking.
What do you like about Pa Ranjith?
He gives a copy of the script to the entire crew and technicians involved so that they can read and give their opinions. I really love that about him. He always takes valid opinions and even changes aspects of his script based on that, without ego issues.
What have you learnt from working with Pa Ranjith?
I've learnt how to support a particular scene with the required details during the process of scripting itself. If you read his script, it will strike you that every detail required to be filmed is included in the script itself. Everything from the sounds to be featured in the backdrop to the description of the lighting is present in the script.
I have also learnt that the quality of the research that we do during pre-production makes a huge difference in the final output.
Which is the best film you’ve worked on so far?
Madras. It was the first film which I worked on and it taught me how you can influence the audience through ideas.
What’s the oddest thing you have seen or done as an AD?
I played Karthi's dupe (body double) in Madras and that scene is featured in the trailer. Similarly, in Kabali, I played the Rajinikanth's dupe in many sequences.
Some of my family members are big fans of Rajinikanth and I took them to meet him only during Kala. He asked me why I didn't introduce them to him during Kabali itself. That is one question which I will always remember.
What's the best thing about being an AD?
If the producer is the heart of the film and director is the brain behind the film, then ADs are the backbone of the film. We do every task irrespective of whether it is assigned to us or not. Just because a job is not assigned to us, we don't consider it as something we are not responsible for. Every task comes under our umbrella and we always keep an eye out.
Who’s a director you wish you could work with, and why?
When Anjathey released I wanted to work with Mysskin. I did approach him, but I was told that it was not feasible for him to hire someone still pursuing his graduation. I also wanted to work with Vetrimaaran as I admire the rawness of his films. I loved Suseenthiran's Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu and his realistic approach, and would love to work with him as well.
What are your future and upcoming projects?
I have already finished writing one script, and I’m working on two more. One belongs to the drama genre and the other is a political thriller set during the ages of emperors and kingdoms.
Who is your dream cast?
I don't believe in the concept of dream cast, but I do think that Kamal Hassan would do justice to political thriller which I'm writing.
What would you like to change about Tamil cinema ?
Hiring of more female assistant directors. Of course now the trend is on the rise, but I feel that the ratio is still skewed.