Sanjay Bharathi’s phone won’t stop ringing, it seems. The director of Dhanusu Raasi Neyargalae (DRN), Sanjay handles all the calls and messages with the ease of someone who has been doing it for long. And then, you remember that he probably learned it all by observing his father, actor and filmmaker Santhana Bharathi. “When you come from such a family (his grandfather is veteran actor-producer MR Santhanam), the responsibilities are high. The industry keeps a close watch on you, and there is a lot of pressure on us to deliver,” says Sanjay as we sit down to talk about the Harish Kalyan-starrer.
He explains that he knew he needed a ‘concept’ for his debut film. “I went with astrology as that idea. The hero’s characterisation was made unique by this choice,” he says. “He’s someone who is looking for a kanni raasi girl. He’s frightened of sevvaai dosham but on the other hand, the girl is someone who wants to travel to Mars.” He acknowledges that the topic of astrology is not exactly new to Tamil cinema. “Often though, it’s used in the comedy portions. As I remember, I don’t think there has ever been a film completely focused on it.”
He’s confident about the film’s appeal. “It’s a film that will make you feel nostalgic. The writing is mostly influenced by what I have personally seen and heard. The audience will remember incidents from their life as they watch this film,” says the director, who is confident that DRN will be received as an entertainer. “It’s not a film to have you laugh out loud. It is designed to make you smile — a smile that will stay on your face throughout. You will walk out with the feeling that it was a lot of fun.” Sanjay has known Harish Kalyan for years, but he says that’s not why the actor agreed to be part of this project.
“The film needed someone who is neither new nor a star. Harish also wanted to do a boy-next-door character because his last two films were intense romantic dramas. Even DRN has romance, but not as much as in his previous films.”
The film’s music is by Ghibran, a composer who’s showing interest in gravitating towards ‘commercial films’. “DRN is a pucca commercial film but Gelusil saapudra alavukku masala irukaadhu. Though this brand of cinema is new to him, Ghibran has done a great job.” Each song in the album is done by a different lyricist. “I wanted to work with as many as possible. I got the opportunity to work with Ku Karthik, Madhan Karky, Chandru, Viveka and Vignesh Shivan, and each of them brought in their respective flavour.”
The topic naturally shifts to his father, actor and director Santhana Bharathi. “Appa saw the film before its release and assured me that it would work out. He is not one to mince words, and so, it made me quite happy,” he says. “I am sure people won’t compare this film with those my father has done. I am a more commercial filmmaker. Some day though, I would love to do an intense film like Guna.” The young director shares that he’s influenced by his father’s style of filmmaking, and that of director Vijay, who he assisted. “Both of them are from different schools of filmmaking and that’s the problem (laughs). My preference is for ‘fun films’. Vijay sir’s style is more intense, and you will see those flavours in the second half of DRN.”
Sanjay has done his fair share of acting in films such as Naanga and Massu Engira Masilamani. “But I didn’t want too much of that; that’s why I got into direction. Oru round vandhen but set aagala. I want to concentrate on direction.” The dsirector has signed his second film — another collaboration with Harish Kalyan — even before the release of his first. “Dhananjayan sir called me a month back and things fell into place. It will be a supernatural film. I am planning on taking a small break of 15 days after DRN
before beginning work on the new film.”