Thiagarajan — writer, director, actor, producer, and art director — wears many hats. After proving his mettle as an actor with yesteryear blockbusters like Alaigal Oivathillai (1981), Malaiyoor Mambattiyan (1983) and Neengal Kettavai (1984), among others, this Septuagenarian gives a sneak peek into his character in the recently released Yaman.
“I play a politician in it. I had a powerful role and enjoyed dubbing for myself. It’s important for an actor to play a variety of roles. An artiste’s strength depends on it,” he says. How did he bag Yaman? “I bought the Hindi remake rights of Naan (2012), and that’s how I got to know of Vijay Antony and director Jeeva Shankar. The story and screenplay were different. I couldn’t refuse because I liked the way he had written the script,” he shares.
All praise for the director, Thiagarajan says his working style reminded him of the late director Balu Mahendra. “When Jeeva narrated Yaman, I wanted to be a part of it. He is extremely talented and explains what he wants in an engaging way. Like Balu Mahendra, he could shoot in any light and make the actor look good. He is open to suggestions and brings out the best in an actor. He adds the right nuances in a character to make it look good,” he gushes.
Thiagarajan says that the industry is pretty much the same and nothing has really changed over the years. “Even now, the story is important and adds to the success. With the help of technology, the process of filmmaking has become easy,” he adds.
Thiagarajan says he has bought the remake rights of Kangana Ranaut’s Queen (2014) in all four south Indian languages Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. While Revathy is directing it in Malayalam and Tamil, Suhasini is working on the dialogues in Tamil. “We have made a few changes to the original script. I am discussing it with a few writers and directors for the Kannada and Telugu versions,” he adds.
Ask him if his son Prashanth would be a part of the Queen remake, Thiagarajan says it’s unlikely. “Prashanth is acting in the Tamil remake of Neeraj Pandey’s Bollywood venture Special 26 (2013). We’re talking to a few directors about the Hindi remake of Naan. It’s an interesting film and has a novel plot. It will be perfect if Prashanth does the same in Hindi,” he shares.
Though many producers are keen to rope in Thiagarajan for character roles, he’s concerned only about Prashanth’s future. “I want to re-launch him in a big way. He’s a bundle of talent. He has surrendered himself to me and it would be unjust if I don’t do something for him. At the same time, he doesn’t like to just sign any movie. He takes his own time to figure things out. We have plans of a sequel to Jeans (1998) too,” he says.