Director Suri is wrapping up work on Tagaru. “I am ‘dumping’ the film,” he says, “meaning getting the film uploaded for release”.So, how does a release day go for this director? He says, “It is usually spent with the technicians. For every film, I would ask my mother to a pooja for the screen before its first show on a Friday. This time, I will have to let go because the shows start at 7 am,” says Suri, who is comfortable with the hype and hoopla around Tagaru.
“I understand the craze and I welcome the celebrations. But I still prefer the traditional line-up of shows -- of 10.30 am, 1.30, 4.30 and 7.30 pm, besides the late-night show,” he says. Suri compares a movie’s theatrical release to the life of a flower garland. “Fresh flowers on it wilt and dry up by evening, and only the thread remains. Similarly, freshness of a film today lasts for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Monday shows tells us how strong the ‘thread’ is or how long it will hold the interest of the audience,” he says.The director looks forward to the first day-first show, waiting to hear how loud whistles of fans will sound.
In all, 150 technicians have worked with Suri for Tagaru, though he had tried to limit the numbers. “I don’t believe in bringing too many people to prepare the proverbial broth. If one person adds too much salt, then the whole dish is wasted. With so many people around, we can’t really pin responsibility for mistakes. Ultimately, the chef will take the blame,” he says. An artist-turned-screenplay writer, this director has 17 years of experience in this field though he has helmed only nine films. “Films are like paintings. I only work on them when I am in a mood for them.
Every big movie I work on takes two years of my life. I do not know how to practise filmmaking as ‘instant’ business, though it has become necessary. I feel that we do only scratch work today, which we call as roughsketch in art. We still struggle while making films and each corrects flaws in you as a filmmaker. You need to feel proud of the credits, like that which says ‘A film by Suri’. I hope to do full justice to it through Tagaru,” he says.
Touted to be a crime drama according to Suri, is “entertainement, entertainment and more entertainment”. The only request he makes from its audience is that to follow its story, they must watch it from the title card. “The experience of this movie starts from the very beginning. If you miss that, you may be left with unanswered questions towards the end. If you miss the title screen, you may miss out on a few details,” he says.
What did Suri experiment with in Tagaru? “Screenplay,” he quips, adding, “it is the film’s lifeblood… I have followed the works of Tarantino, Alexandra Gonsalves, Akira Kurosawa, and Mani Ratnam. I am particularly drawn to Tarantino’s style of filmmaking. He starts with a novel and then converts it into screenplay, which is what he did in Godfather. With experience, I have learnt that writing is very important for a good screenplay. Though the one-liner of a story comes easy, the success of a movie depends on the presentation. I have also stressed on the importance of silence, and adding intensity to the dialogues. I have also followed a timeline pattern for the story, which was done intentionally,” he says.
Suri says that team, including his co-writer Surendranath and lyricist Jayant Kaikini, has motivated him to do better. “I also had dialgoue writer Maasti Manju, Rajesh Nataranga, my associate, Abhi, Shekar and editor Deepu collaborating with me,” says the director. He feels lucky to have roped in music director Charan Raj and cinematographer Mahendra Simha, who, he says, has turned around the film. “I was also fortunate to have KP Srikanth for a producer, who gave me a free hand,” he adds.
Suri had always been apprehensive about getting a movie’s cast right. “Matching the actors to the telling of a story requires a miracle. Certain characters are meant to be played by certain actors. In Tagaru, I had the best cast with lead actors Shivarajkumar along with Bhavana, and supporting cast of Manvitha Harish, Dhananjay, Vasishta Simha and Devanatha. The seriousness with which I approached this project was shared by them too. To have made a movie that is 80 per cent of what was initially visualised is a joy in itself, and I am satisfied with Tagaru,” says Suri.
The director, signing off his long conversation that was had over intervals from his work, tells us, “I have never cheated with any shot, and every one of it has been taken for the story. Today, audience watch movies very intelligently. We do not have to spoon feed them. I now have to wait and watch how they will accept by new style of filmmaking.”