Direction Dreams: 'Bala exhibits a child-like passion'
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations, and this week it is Valluvarajan, assistant to Bala
Interview with Valluvarajan
Director worked with: Bala
Key responsibilities: Assisting the editing department and casting
Films worked on: Tharai Thappattai, Naachiyaar
What do you like about director Bala?
I like how he makes films about and for the common man. Also, contrary to the general perception, he is never harsh with those he works with. He always exhibits a child-like passion and a desire to learn.
What is the one thing that you have learnt from him?
I have learnt the value of opportunities. During one of the tougher days, I was dejected and felt like quitting. But Bala made me realise how many people out there are dying to be in my shoes. To this day, this thought always drives me.
What’s one area of filmmaking that you had a tough time with but have now become better at?
Editing. I didn't understand the importance of editing, until I saw the final version of a film. That's when I realised the magic that is editing and worked towards getting better at it.
Which is the best film you’ve worked on so far, and what were your contributions?
Both films provided me with different learning experiences. I learnt a lot about post production in Tharai Thappattai and about pre-production and production in Naachiyar.
What would you like to change about Tamil cinema?
The attitude that films can be watched on a mobile platform where the video and audio quality are sub-standard. In my opinion, instead of watching films like that, it's better not to watch them at all. We put in so much effort and try to deliver the best quality possible from our side. So it needs to be experienced properly.
What do you think you can bring to Tamil cinema if given an opportunity to direct?
I would like to make animation films that are on par with today’s global standards. Of course, it all depends on the budget and the producer, but I feel this is one genre that has been completely unexplored in our industry.
What are your future scripts and projects?
I have written a script that draws inspiration from a Thirukkural. It is a non-linear narrative about how our thoughts can have an immediate and profound effect on our deeds.
Debut films are often the result of compromises. What’s one area you will never compromise on? And what’s one area you don’t mind compromising on?
I don't mind compromising on the budget, but I will not compromise on the cast. I will also not agree to add elements to the script that will lead to an unnecessary deviation from the main storyline.
Who’s the dream cast of your debut film?
Vijay Sethupathi because he's such a versatile actor.
If filmmaking doesn’t work out, what then?
I would consider starting a digital channel that regularly publishes unique video content.
Often, it is said that when you start working on your passion, the passion goes out of your work. What about for you?
Yes, I, too, have felt the passion sometimes ebbing. But then I think about all those years of toil and sacrifices that have gone in, and remember how much it means to me to be a filmmaker.