Screenwriters often don’t recognized even when they deserve appreciations patently because it’s a situation of praising actors and other technicians alone. Precisely, the credits of Screenwriters literally goes unnoticed under such scenarios, nonetheless, here comes a talented screenwriter from God’s own country, who has won laurels for his spellbinding screenplay for the film ‘Ananthapurathu Veedu’ as his earnest efforts have turned spotlights on him.
Of course, he holds special mentions for having generated a new-dimensioned supernatural thriller of blending fun, frolic, emotions and twists. The young screenwriter feels so invigorated for having worked with versatile screenwriter Indira Soundarajan in this film.
We bring you an exclusive interview with Sharath Haridasan, an avid ad filmmaker and screenwriter, who is all set to make his debut directorial with ‘Jayakumaranin Thiraikadhai’…
Can you just share your previous experiences before getting into films?
I had been a freelance copywriter in advertising all through my student days and naturally advertising was a chosen career. But after my PG i landed up in Chennai working for an IT company who were developing websites and voice technology. Then through a common friend I met ad film maker Rajeev Menon. Interactions with him made me start thinking that I should go ahead and do what i always wanted to do – make films. And i had started writing screenplays and draw frames and storyboards since the time I was in high school. So, in 2001 I resigned from the IT Company and joined a foreign production house in India at a much less salary. A year later I moved on to start my own small production set-up.
How many screenplays had you written before APV?
Two screenplays for HBO USA – which got produced; then three in Malayalam, out of which one got produced. APV is my debut work in Tamil. The Malayalam one was a controversial stuff, and personally, was a painful and letting down experience for me as a budding writer. Later had some collaboration with Malayalam director Jayaraj (He did 4 Students with Bharath and Gopika and introduced Jassie Gift). But now it has become a popular movie on television since two years.
Your specialization – Is it Filmmaking or Screenwriting?
Filmmaking, as I always wanted to make movies. And I prefer to write my movies.
How do you find the status of screenwriters in Tamil film industry?
This is today the best regional language industry. And since its origins, Tamil Cinema has had excellent writers, and they had their own identity. But we should also note that this is the industry where most of the directors are writers too. So a separate identity for the writer goes unacknowledged both in the industry, media, and among general audience. Or you have to be a celebrity writer :) However, whatever the status others give to screenwriters, they create the skeleton/structure of the movie. Without a strong skeleton, any beautiful body remains as a mass of amorphous flesh!
Your experience working with Naga
Enriching! He’s like my elder brother, and has taught me a lot over the years. He has always trusted my skills and has corrected me whenever I wrote in a wrong direction. I have closely observed how he works with his actors, and crew. Especially children, not just in this movie, but before in another television project too. And I am amazed at his patience. He is a mountain of calmness! I don’t think I can imbibe that quality of him.
How did ‘Ananthapurathu Veedu’ take off? The way team was formed
I met Naga sir in 2002 through a common friend Mekha Rajan. Then he asked me to write a period movie script to be produced by K. Balachandar’s Kavithalaya. The project didn’t happen. Me and Naga sir used to spend hours at the Coffee Day on G.N.Chetty Road (Now its not there anymore), and one day in early 2003, he shared an image of an old couple looking through a window, and a kid standing outside, waving at them. APV started from that image.
After Naga sir and I created the first draft, the script remained as an un-produced due to various reasons for almost 5 years, and finally Shankar sir took it up. At that time, I was busy with another work and couldn’t return to work on the script with Naga sir. So Indira sir who had already written landmark scripts for Naga sir’s TV serials and himself a writer of several novels in Tamil came on board. He worked with Naga sir in further developing the script. Since I was away, I never had any interaction with Indira sir. In fact, I met him only on the first day of the shoot of APV at Cochin. When his version was done, Naga sir was generous enough to send me a PDF of the script for my suggestions, which I did. I am so glad my name appears on the credits with the names of stalwarts like Indira Soundarajan.
‘Ananthapurathu Veedu’ holds a special mention for handling an unique plot – single location – very few characters.
Though, in several reviews I read or saw on television, that they have given the credit to us, the screenwriters. But I think all the credit should go to Naga sir, whom I think is a master for visual space. He knows where and how an action should take place on the screen space. Since, at the writing stage, we were also trapped along with the characters inside the Ananthavilasam house. So obviously, we were trying to find interesting things within the household like Ananth :)
About your debut directorial ‘Jayakumaranin Thiraikadhai’
This is my debut movie as a director in Tamil Cinema. I’m preparing to start the next schedule in Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad. Nanda is doing the lead role, and Ganesh Babu (who played real estate broker Rathinam in APV) and Megh Varn Panth (who played the money lender in APV) are also there. I myself wrote the screenplay and dialogues for the movie.
I can’t exactly share more things on this project as it’s too early. But I promise you lot of entertainment. It is diametrically opposite to APV in its content, treatment, and style.
Alfred Hitchcock and Satyajit Ray to start with, Guru Dutt in Hindi, C.V.Sridhar in Tamil, P. Padmarajan in Malayalam…the list is endless…