‘Women-oriented scripts without a big star sadly won’t sell’

This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and their aspirations

Published: 17th November 2017 10:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2017 09:30 AM   |  A+A-

Sinthura G Shankar with team Ivan Thanthiran

Express News Service

Sinthura G Shankar

Directors worked with: Shaji Karun, Muruganand, R Kannan

Key roles: Associate director and line producer

Films worked on: Inimey Ippadithan, Ivan Thanthiran and an untitled R Kannan film starring Atharvaa.

Why filmmaking? How did your journey commence?
During my college days, I wanted to be part of the media industry, but had no real interest in filmmaking. In fact, I was advised to take up advertising. Then I found my passion during my last year of VisCom and joined the MGR film institute for the DFT course. After finishing that, I joined Shaji Karun as an assistant director.

What’s the oddest thing you have faced as an assistant director?
When we were shooting for Ivan Thanthiran, we had to travel by road to Hyderabad and during the road trip, we had to pay the toll charges. But due to demonetisation, I did not have cash and had only a card at my disposal. Not one, not two, but at every toll gate, all along the route, I had to talk my way out of paying the toll charge for the team.

What do you like the most about working with R Kannan?
He is someone who sits with us and teaches us, with patience, about the various departments of filmmaking.
He observes us keenly, and if we are having a tough
time with some aspects, he walks us through it. I also love how he takes balanced decisions at crucial periods, without getting frazzled by deadlines.

What have you learned about films from him?
I have learnt that creativity alone will not make one a successful filmmaker. You need to know how to present a creative idea in a way that will appeal to the audience. I worked as the line producer of Ivan Thanthiran and I think this was the most important takeaway from that time. I also learnt that aspiring filmmakers should first and foremost put themselves in the audience’s shoes.

Who’s a director you wish you could work with, and why?
Mani Ratnam. Because it’s Mani Ratnam.

If filmmaking doesn’t work out, what then?
I don’t think I will take up anything else for a career. I am a classical dancer and someone who is passionate about handicrafts, but those are hobbies.

What is the best thing about being an AD?
You are given a lot of responsibility and you get to learn patience. You also learn to keep trying till you succeed whether it be a shot or making a film.

What are your upcoming projects?
I’m writing the script for an action drama.

Who’s the dream cast of your debut film?
I would love to cast Randeep Hooda and also Vikram.

What would you like to change about Tamil cinema?
The fact that not a lot of women-oriented films get made, and even the ones which do always seem to rely on a big star. I think the audience are also to blame. If I make a film that is woman-oriented and decide to cast someone who isn’t a big star, I can tell you that the film will not be successful. Even now, I often get advised to not take up women-oriented subjects.

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