'Filmmaking is more than just art'

The 9th edition of Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES) has seen many film directors, actors and aspiring filmmakers coming in for interactions. One of the most popular and well-attended sessions was the one by Tamil National Award-winning director Vetrimaaran.

Director, screenwriter and film producer Vetrimaaran, who was invited to take masterclasses at BIFFES, politely declined to do so and instead chose to have an interactive session. “I don’t think I am a master filmmaker just yet to take master classes; I would like to interact with people instead,” said Vetrimaaran rather humbly.

Vetrimaaran is best known for his films in Tamil such as ‘Polladhavan’, ‘Aadukalam’, ‘Kaaka Muttai’ and ‘Udhayam NH4’. His latest release, ‘Visaranai’, has been well-received by film buffs and critics alike. Delving into what filmmaking means to him, Vetrimaaran said, “Filmmaking is more than just art and craft, it is a personal journey and a test of whether a person would become better or worse after the process is complete.”

He dubbed his experience of working on ‘Visaranai’ as an ‘organic’ and ‘intuitive’ process. He said the story of ‘Polladhavan’ struck him after one of his friends lost his bike and the events that followed. ‘Aadukalam’ and ‘Kaaka Muttai’ too were inspired by real-life incidents.

“I believe films are not a medium for bringing in some kind of social reform but a tool for provoking people to think about bringing about a social reform of sorts themselves,” said Vetrimaaran. Responding to a question about adapting films from literary works, Vetrimaaran said, “I don’t entirely borrow the content from a novel. I only take experiences, plot points and expressions and build on them. And when any filmmaker borrows from some other medium, it is important to give the original maker due credit,” he said.

He also spoke about how the word ‘art’ and ‘commercial’ in the world of cinema have indeed been given a different colour. “When art takes over, then the commercial aspect of cinema recedes into the background. Every filmmaker gets down to making a film only when they feel the urge to tell a story,” he said.

About his definition of what comprises good cinema, Vetrimaaran said that a good film would connect him to the character and make him feel one with the emotions. Regarding the importance of making original films, Vetrimaaran said, “Originality of content, style and vision is important to touch people’s lives.”

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