CHENNAI: A conversation with a person who dared to chase his/her dreams is what Bliss Catchers is all about. Concluding the first season this year, curator and host Avis Viswanathan presented the man who found his bliss through a path of happiness. No pursuit, just a path of plain happiness. Only by chance did he come across legends who led him into theatre and the film industry. You may have seen him first as a driver in Sindhu Bairavi (1985), or on stage at one of Crazy Mohan’s plays — Kavithalaya Krishnan.
Krishnan sat beside Avis, quiet and observant, while the latter introduced him. When his turn came, his first words were, “I’m really not comfortable being here and talking about myself.” But what followed was a life story that inspired those present.
Krishnan’s first bliss was Sivaji Ganesan. “Orgasmic,” he exclaimed. “The first film I watched was of Sivaji Ganesan, when I was 17. (I come from an orthodox family. My parents never let me watch films). The minute I saw him on screen, I fell in love and I’ve been in love for 40 years now,” he said.
Thus began the ‘Sivaji’ fever. He would watch all Sivaji movies, go to salons only to catch a glimpse of him in celebrity magazines, and covertly cut out the pictures.
So when Avis aked him if Sivaji played a role in making him an actor, Krishnan denied it. “I never wanted to be an actor. It all just happened. I’m still not sure if I’m a competent actor. If you hide under the shadow of K Balachandar, people will think you are a good actor,” he chuckles.
Krishnan had become an engineer, and had a corporate job for 16 years, but also did theatre. One day he quit for good. He got offered jobs outside India, but did not want to leave the realm of Sivaji. “Success is relative. What are the parameters of success? I realised them an early age. My success was being happy with myself, doing what I wanted to do. Happiness is doing what you want to do and also not doing what you don’t want to do. Follow your heart, but keep your mind informed,” he said, and the audience applauded.
Krishnan also talked about his restricted social life, saying, “I make friends only with people who encourage me. I associate with people who back me and my bliss.” To this Avis reflected, “I think when we look for reference points of what we are doing, it is important to learn the direction of perspectives that connect with us at a deeper level. Have a circle that is extremely supportive of your bliss.”
After a long conversation on Krishnan’s lessons from his life, Avis ended with a question. He asked Krishnan who among his many inspirations (including Sivaji, Kamal Hassan and Balachandar) takes centre stage. Krishnan replied, “None of the above, but Sowcar Janaki. She is one woman whom I’ve been in awe of for 40 years. She has so much grace and dignity; it drew me to her. I’ve always wanted to impress her,” he smiled.
The last series of season one ended with the focus on what season 2 would bring. “We want to bring in bliss as a concept. We are not only going to look for people who quit their jobs to follow their bliss, but also for people who are doing something that gives them joy. Someone — anyone who is completely happy with life,” said Avis.
The Bliss Catchers series will be back in January 2016 with season two.