Direction Dreams: 'I almost got to work with Majid Majidi'
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations, and this week it is Y Aruna Rakhee, assistant to Vijay and Priyadarshan
Interview with Y Aruna Rakhee
Directors worked with: Vijay, Priyadarshan
Key responsibilities: Coordination with art department, casting, assisting the editing department, and handling scheduling
Films worked on: Karu, Devi, Idhu Enna Maayam, Thaandavam
What do you like about director Vijay?
His consideration for the people who work for him. On average, we spend more than 12 hours a day on the sets, and hardly get to spend any time with our family. His cordial approach means that the sets feel familial.
What have you learnt from working as an assistant director?
I've learnt how to how to extract the best out of artistes by adopting a working style that suits their strengths and personalities.
What’s an area of filmmaking you have become better at?
I can conceptualise stories and ideas, but initially, I had trouble converting them into a bound script. Now, I have got the hang of it.
Who’s a director you wish you could work with, and why?
Majid Majidi. I’m a big fan of all his films. I almost got the opportunity to work with him in Beyond the Clouds, but missed it.
What’s the oddest thing you have done as an AD?
This is not odd, but unforgettable. Once at a dubbing studio, I ran into Kamal Haasan. We didn’t know each other, and I usually don’t invade the space of actors. But being a huge fan, I thought I'd greet him. He was kind, and even narrated the story of a woman who he felt was like me in a lot of ways. I was so overwhelmed!
What’s the best thing about being an AD?
We are exposed to a whole variety of tasks and responsibilities that aid us in becoming not just a jack of all trades but also a master.
What do you think you can bring to Tamil cinema if given an opportunity to direct?
I would like to create a space for short films. I feel they should have the same access to resources that feature films have.
What are your future scripts and projects?
I'm penning a few. One of them is a romantic fantasy; another is a comedy-fantasy. Fantasy has always fascinated me.
Debut films are often the result of compromises. What’s one area you will never compromise on?
I'm always open to suggestions that will help make the script better, but I will not compromise on the cast.
Who’s the dream cast of your debut film?
I don’t know which film I will make first. But I have one script about stardom, and I think someone like Rajinikanth, with all his experience, will do justice to the role.
Often, ADs talk about losing the passion after a few years. How about you?
I've come close sometimes, but whenever that feeling comes over me, I make sure to reinvent myself and figure out ways to push myself in order to rekindle the passion.
Have you ever been star-struck?
When I met Santosh Sivan, I was so star-struck that I couldn't stop grinning. Senior technicians like him have an infectious passion for their craft that is truly inspiring.