Ganesh Venkatraman, model-turned-actor
Published: 26th June 2011 12:27 AM |
I’m a Tamilian from Mumbai, whose modelling experience was largely confined to Mumbai. But when I opted to try my luck in films, I only wanted to be part of south Indian cinema. Now, having worked in Tamil (‘Abiyum Naanum’), Telugu (‘Damarukkom’) and Malayalam (‘Kandahar’), I have a fair sense of the working ways of these film industries.
Movies in these four languages may be grouped together as films of south India, but my experience has taught me there are four different film worlds catering to people with four entirely different sensitivities.
There may be several sharing of scripts between them, but they work with different parameters and filmmaking styles. As a Tamil speaker, it was natural for me to aspire to an entry in Kollywood. Scripts here are unique, and their emotional quotient pleasingly higher than the rest.
When Tamil filmmaker K Balachandar did the classic ‘Ek Duuje Ke Liye’ in Hindi, it was a runaway hit largely because films of that genre were seldom tried by Bollywood then. But a high sentiment level hasn’t downed efforts on the technical side in Tamil films, because the finesse in our filmmaking techniques is something others mostly only aspire.
In Andhra Pradesh, films are approached with an endearing sense of levity. Life on screen is often larger-than- life. An eclectic assemblage of family values, humour and action is a common recipe for success here. Also, going to a film-hall every weekend still remains the staple form of weekend entertainment for the Telugus, who have recorded some of the highest rates of repeat watches of films in the country. This is a flattering experience for actors, who know they are keenly watched by the audience.
Malayalam cinema on the other hand is a complete contrast, where a solid script, and not grandeur, is a pre-requisite. Films here are made on small, efficiently charted out budgets, and the shooting span hardly crosses a month for most films.
With films in three south Indian languages in my repertoire, an entry to Bollywood got easier for me, and I am now part of Mahesh Bhatt’s ‘Kuch Log’, with an impressive ensemble like Anupam Kher and Rati Agnihotri. But when in Mumbai, the film’s crew, including choreographers, discuss in great detail about innovative camera angles in Tamil films. They ask me to recommend stuntmen from Kollywood because they are just so good, and then I know I made no mistake when I call Tamil films my home.
Venkatraman is a Tamil actor and model.