Samuthirakani, on his finest work till date

Real to reel

Samuthirakani, on his finest work till date

Every single time P Samuthirakani’s been associated with a movie, be it as a director or as an actor, it’s made heads turn. From Vetrimaaran’s Visaranai, which fetched him a National Award, to Naadodigal, which defined what good friendship was to Appa, which showcased different styles of parenting, Samuthirakani (Kani) has always been associated with only what can be termed as good cinema.

The man sincerely believes that every film that he works on must have an entertaining story that is packed with relevant social messages for the society. It is this thought of his which has now made him the darling of the masses. No wonder then that people expect his upcoming films also to have both an entertaining story and a meaningful message at the end of it.

Not one to disappoint his audiences, Samuthirakani seems to have come up with a gripping story for his next film, titled Thondan. “This is my 11th film and I think that this is my finest work yet. I have put all my energy and soul into this film. The inspiration for this film came from a real-life incident that took place in Karur,” begins Kani. “A guy walked into a women’s college and broke the leg of a chair. He then clobbered a girl to death inside the college premises with that piece of wood. The other girls in that classroom kept shrieking in fear. They couldn’t save the girl who was injured. Their fear was what gave the attacker his courage. I wondered what would have happened if the girls had hit back. That question which arose in me is what inspired me to begin this film. That was the starting point,” says Kani.

“This was an outrageous attack on a girl who had spurned the advances of a guy,” he adds, his anger visible when he talks about the incident. “There were several other issues that caught my attention, and one of them was the 108 free ambulance service. I thought that this too must be showcased in my film,” he says.

In fact, Samuthirakani plays a paramedic in the film. Explaining how he got to incorporate this idea in the film, he says, “ I got to know that a silent revolution was happening with regard to providing timely medical help. The entire service is actually done by youngsters, who take calls for medical help from different parts of the state.

Even if the callers are in a state of panic, these youngsters remain calm. They swiftly collect correct and complete information so that no time is wasted by ambulances in searching for destinations. I found the place from where these youngsters operate and spent a couple of days with them while they were at work. I was highly impressed,” he says.

“Their chief, called Prabhu, told me that each of those who wanted to serve had to undergo a week’s training. He said, ‘First, we teach them compassion and then humanism. Then, we teach them psychology. Next, we teach them to stay focused. It is only then that we teach them first aid techniques. They are sent out along with experienced teams the first few times before being sent out on their own’. I have studied topics like these that have been in the news and that have influenced us over the last six months. All of these incidents have been incorporated in this one story, which, I think, has come out in a beautiful fashion,” he explains.

So, has this 108 ambulance service been shown as it is in the film? “No. Actually, there were some legal issues that we would have to face if we were to show a service like 108 on screen. So, I have shown it as a private service called Uyir in the film but in reality, this is based on the 108 ambulance service that is available to the common man. To be honest, I am so impressed by this service that after the success of my film Thondan, I want to have ambulances in all 32 districts of the state to help people, free of cost,” he says.

Draw his attention to the fact that there  are rumours that this film also has a sequence in which he has given details of the local breeds of cattle and their specialities, he replies, “We wanted to do a single sequence of four-and-a-half minutes. We shot this sequence on the last day. There were 87 indigenous cattle breeds. Each of these breeds had a specialty. For instance, the milk from certain breeds could help cure certain diseases. Our ancestors knew about each breed and the speciality of that breed. Now, we are fast losing these breeds. We have already lost some.”

The term ‘Thondan’ is usually used to refer to the follower of a political party. Is this film about politics? Says Samuthirakani, “I would like to define ‘Thondan’ in a different way. ‘Thondan’, according to me, is a person who helps another who has fallen. ‘Thondan’ is one who thinks that nothing he does must be a hindrance to the activities of another. When we use the word ‘Thondan’, it is immediately associated with politics. We have made it that way. But ‘Thondan’ is actually a word to refer to anyone who is ready to serve and that is what this film is all about.”

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry