Ace actor and Play Wright, S Ve Shekar chats up with NITHYA RAVINDRAN, right through his childhood days, entry into cinema, to becoming CBFC Board Member, Mersal controversy and much more.

YOUNGER DAYS

I was born in Tanjore and after being there for three years my father chose to move base to Chennai and became a lab assistant (movies). We were initially at Triplicane and then shifted to Mandavelipakkam. My flair for photography and theatre is something that grew in me since my childhood days. At the age of 11, my father taught me photography. And since my father used to act in and direct plays, I would listen to rehearsals happening at home, while pretending to study. Childhood, thus, has been highly disciplined, yet memorable.

CAREER COMMENCEMENT

I started as a sound engineer in radio. I have made 275 commercials for Vivid Bharathi and also introduced the tlichithiram’ concept on radio, where Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada movies were played on air after editing My work was always noticed and appreciated for its quality, which got me the Best All India Programme Producer Award for four years in a row from RAPA (Radio & Television Advertisers & Producers Association). I have also been a voice-over artist for All India Radio.

THEATRE EXPERIENCE AND ENTRY INTO MOVIES

I wanted to learn cinematography and work as a cinematographer, to which my dad dissuaded me stating being a technician in cinema would fetch me no money for a living. I opted for Central Polytechnic course — air conditioning and refrigeration — instead, only because the college was next compound to Film Institute, where I spent most of my time, except during my father’s visiting hours there as faculty. I slowly started contributing to my father’s theatre work by doing audio visual effects and finally got my acting chance in V Gopalakrishnan sir’s drama troupe. Eventually I formed my own troupe called Natakapriya with his blessings, entered movies as still photographer, got spotted by K Balachander sir and the rest is history.

CHOOSING SCRIPTS

The most important aspect that I look for in a script is its flow and continuity. Also, it should not have repetitions. And if it’s a suspense thriller, it’s important to see how the revelation happens. If these seem appealing, then it’s good enough to consider.

BOARD MEMBER OF CBFC

Being a Board Member, I am actually supposed to be the regional representation of the Chairman. However, I am out of it now, after my four year stint, only because it was more like an omamental role.

MERSAL CONTROVERSY

There is nothing controversial about Mersal, but for the distortion of certain facts. Making a movie is a huge responsibility and its makers ought to ensure they convey the right things, as it not only reaches the educated, but also the masses! These have to be taken strongly into consideration. Dialogue writers and directors have to be very careful in what they choose to show and say. Even if there’s a dialogue that speaks against an existing fact or portrays wrong information, there ought to be another character who will correct this through his dialogue or deed. If that’s missing, then it is not right! The censor board letting it be is also wrong, because distortion of fact is not permitted in censor rules itself!

NADIGAR SANGAM CONTROVERSIES

I have stopped involving myself in anything associated with Nadigar Sangam for now. But there’s one thing that I would want to vehemently state — the building that’s being spoken about, once constructed, will solely be used for the welfare of financially challenged artistes and will not be permitted to be used for business purposes!

ADVICE TO BUDDING ARTISTS

Practise 100% transparency, wherever you are or in whatever you do! Cultivate your extra-curricular skills, alongside education; I was fortunate that my father always did that to me.