Passion for the reel

Last Updated 23 August 2014, 14:44 IST

I caught up with veteran actor V Ravichandran on the sets of his latest movie Apoorva. Sitting quietly by himself, the actor was working on his tablet while waiting for me, and was in a getup that made him look much older than his actual age.

It struck me that his confidence in himself and love for his craft was beyond everything else. And as we eased into this conversation, I also realised why he is so loved and revered in the industry.

Early days

The actor, director, producer, music director, editor and lyricist is the son of notable film producer N Veerasami and continues to run his father’s production house, Sri Eswari Productions. However, in his growing years, Ravichandran never thought of becoming an actor.

“I never got into acting by design and everything has been spontaneous. I have gone through the process of learning on the sets. In fact, I was a shy child. I was not good at studies and I never thought I would be an actor. It just happened.” He started his film career in the early 1980s and acted as a villain in his first movie Khadeema Kallaru.

“I became well known after my second film, which was again as an anti-hero, and then slowly my journey in films started. If someone provoked me or underestimated me, I would work hard to prove them wrong. Criticism and being provoked has always brought out the best in me, despite the fact that it has caused me several problems.” Wearing multiple hats, he has dabbled in music, lyrics, screenplay, apart from direction and production. Ask him about his favourite and pat comes the reply, “I just love anything to do with cinema. I do everything by myself because I want to be perfect and want things organised and methodical.”

Incidentally, on the sets of Apoorva, Ravichandran has no assistant directors. “Today, although I want to teach someone, I see that they are wasting time and not really learning. I am able to finish my work faster, as people these days do not appreciate creativity in the job. I don’t even have a clap boy and today digitalisation has changed a lot of things. I feel that if someone can follow my dreams and give me more than what I want while understanding the art, it would help. I can get what I want for myself and that works for me.”

A self-confessed cinema lover, Ravichandran says often an idea drives him and eggs him to work hard. “In fact, I keep writing so much that I can’t even sleep. It’s like a voice inside me is telling me to write. I wanted to change my image and I started this with Ekangi. I wanted a mature screen image.” Having worked in the industry for several decades, the actor adds that the industry needs to see change.

“From my Premaloka days, I see no change. The industry needs to grow and become much larger than it is now. Other film industries have seen a lot of growth. We need to stop doing remakes and opt for fresh stories and new scripts. It is also important to focus on multi-starrers. I think the way forward is for young stars to join hands with senior stars, take up interesting scripts, and take the industry abroad.”

Incidentally, Ravichandran says that the screenplay is the most important aspect of a film, as the story maybe a one-liner but the screenplay forms the connection with the audience. “How you finish a script is also important and there are very few scripts that excite me, so I write my own scripts. I never blame my audience when my films don’t do well, as they are the ones who have showered their love to make me famous.”

Known for his big budget films, Ravichandran says that in earlier days he had an issue with ticket pricing, which has thankfully changed now, thanks to the multiplexes. “I think a part of the ticket price should be used to make theatres better and also set up a fund to build a free studio for Kannada film producers.”

New vistas

With actors taking to the small screen in a big way, I ask him if we would see him doing a show and he says, “Anchoring is an issue with me as I am spontaneous and cannot speak in a rehearsed manner. If something makes sense and is challenging and allows me to be myself, I would take it up.” He gladly essayed the role of a father in Maanikya when actor Sudeep approached him for the same. “I never believe in an image, rather I believe in a film. If I feel a film will reach my audience, I will do it.”

The proud father now says that he is looking forward to his sons debuting on screen. “My sons look good on screen and are quite different from each other. One is quite macho at six feet tall, but he is still studying now. My elder son has a good image and has a screen presence. However, they are still scared that their father is a big star. I have told them that I will handle their debut ventures, after which they are free to do any films they want to.”

His son Manoranjan’s debut film, Ranadheera, will actually have 40 songs. “But I have to compose the songs for the movie, and it will be an interesting way of telling the script.” The busy actor has his hands full and says that being a workaholic is ingrained into his system. “If everything is going on well, I don’t need a break or a holiday.” His upcoming movies have interesting concepts.

“Apoorva is a story shot mostly inside a lift and is between a 64-year-old man and a 19-year-old girl and how they deal with a situation where they face death and how things change when life gives them another chance.”

Ask him about his long-pending project, Manjina Hani, and Ravichandran says that it was something he started eight years ago. “I am hurt when I hear the scream of a woman or the cry of a child as it first reaches your heart, not your ears. It’s a reflection of today’s society but I need to work on it as it is complicated. What pinches me is that I spent a lot of time and money on graphics for this movie, but that did not work. Now I am reworking on the script and hope to finish it soon.”

He admits that earlier, he signed movies for money but after the recent successes of Drishya and Maanikya, he has become more responsible towards his audience and will do good films only. The family man that he is, he says that his world revolves only around films and home and it is little wonder that he has managed to connect with fans across several decades.

(Published 23 August 2014, 14:44 IST)

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