Ram’s journey as a filmmaker from the critically-acclaimed Kattradhu Thamizh (2007) to his last outing Thanga Meenkal (2013), has taught him many lessons. Having been in the film circuit for more than a decade, currently, he’s busy acting in Mysskin’s Savarakathi as the protagonist, besides directing Mammootty in Peranbu. He’s also looking forward to releasing his other directorial venture Taramani soon, which has Andrea, Anjali and Vasanth Ravi, in important roles. “I have always wanted to make stories from the heart; maybe that’s why my films take a lot of time. Somethimes, films are prone to delay due to economic reasons,” he says.
Talking about casting Mammootty in a Tamil film after a long time, he says he had an amazing time working with him and learnt a lot from him. “Peranbu’s script was something that struck me six years ago and I thought of Mammooka while developing the plot. When I approached him, he was happy to do it. His role is that of a family man, who rediscovers himself after an incident,” he explains.
Calling it a feel good film set in both rural and urban backdrops, he shares, “The film revolves around a father-daughter relationship and human emotions. Initially, we thought of making the film only in Tamil, but Mammootty convinced me that it would be received well by the Malayalam audience. So, we plan to make it a bilingual,” he adds.
Ram always wants to make the best film and not the biggest. “I feel satisfied if films come closer to my vision. Comfort levels matter to me, and I trust my actors. I spend time with my actors before and during the shoot to understand them,” he says. Ram admits that Anjali will be a part of most of his films. “Whenever I have a role for her, she does it without any apprehensions,” he shares.
Quiz him about Taramani and he says he has shown how globalisation has affected the man-woman relationship. “Though it’s set against an IT backdrop, the film throws light on how relationships are being tested and transformed today, apart from the complexities that rise alongside,” he says. The film explores many concepts “For instanc, freedom. Nowadays, women are bold and fearless. But do men come to terms with it? .”
How does it feel juggling between being an actor and director? He laughs, “When I act, I act. I don’t direct or poke my nose in anything else. In fact, I find acting easier than direction — Less tension levels and stress! I am being paid for whatever I do and they feed me thrice a day. What more do I want?,”he says. In Savarakathi he plays a barber. “Mysskin wanted me to do this role and believed in me. It’s a comic caper. I have told him that he’s risking his business and life having me on board. After all, it’s good to act without shouldering directorial responsibilities. All I have to do is just observe, listen, react and perform.”
Many know that Ram belongs to the Balu Mahendra school of filmmaking and believes in his craft. “When I do a film, I stick to the basics, relying completely on a story and have been careful about authenticity and the like. I am really not a planner, but I’d love to direct a light-hearted film or something on teenage love,” he shares.