Director and actor Sasikumar, who has played the lead in director Bala’s upcoming film, Thaarai Thappattai, opens up on a number of issues ranging from his role in the film to what the story is about.
On the experience of working under Bala as an actor...
I worked as an assistant director to Bala in Sethu (1999). I am happy to have worked with him in this film. I don’t have enough words to express my joy. When I worked with him in Sethu, I didn’t go to him as an assistant director. I went there as a disciple. In the same manner, here too, I didn’t stand before him as an actor but as a disciple would in front of his guru.
What’s your character in the film?
I play Sannasi, a person who runs a Thaarai Thappattai troupe. My character can play all the musical instruments, including the nadeswaram and the thavil. Varalakshmi plays Sooravali, an artiste in this troupe. The story is set in Thanjavur. We stayed in a colony there and shot the film.
Did you undergo any special training for the character?
Bala said I should learn dance and music for this role. So, I learnt dance for two months. Simultaneously, in the mornings, I would learn the nadeswaram, the Thavil, the Thappu and other instruments. I only learnt the basics but I learned them from common artistes in Thanjavur.
So what’s the film about?
Bala stressed on Karagattam being the dance of our society. We have refused to give it a place of importance. This story will showcase the joy, sadness, anger, love and problems of those practising this art. I have always respected such artistes. After working on this film, that respect has only grown. I danced barefoot for this film and that’s when I understood the amount of pain they endure for the art. I had to dance for just a few minutes but these people dance the entire night. They also face several problems, including harrassment. I now feel like folding my hands in respect when I see them.
Why was there a delay in releasing the film?
I am responsible for it. I made a bad judgement call while shooting a sequence. I got carried away by the music and ran where I had to walk. As a result, I lost my balance and fell. While landing, I put out my hand to soften the fall and injured myself which caused the delay in completing the film and releasing it.
Bala’s films generally appeal more to men than women.Will this film continue to do the same?
I believe that perception will change with this film. This film will definitely appeal to women as much as it does to men.