Selva, an experienced director who has made waves in
the industry with films like Naan Avanillai, in an exclusive
interview with Behindwoods. Here he talks about his
journey into the world of films and his upcoming film
Guru En Aalu and future projects. Read on to find out
more about this director who has rendered around twenty
films in a career spanning almost three decades.
I watched K B’s Naan Avanillai, I was
totally floored by its ‘avant garde’
Guru En Aalu
am working in ‘Guru En Aalu’
where I am teaming up with Madhavan
for the first time. I have taken a small
knot from the Hindi film ‘Yes
Boss’ and have developed on those
lines. Mamtha Mohandas is the heroine
and Abbas, Mayilsamy, Vivek, M S Bhaskar
are part of the rest of the cast. Guru
En Aalu is K R G banner’s 49th
film which will be a humorous flick
right through. I am very confidant that
this is going to be an important film
in Maddy’s career. Comedy sequences
involving M S Bhaskar and Vivek are
going to be the highlight of the film
and will be talked about.
in the film
are five songs in the film which are
peppy in nature. There are no remix
tracks and the songs are well suited
to Maddy and Mamtha. Chellame Chellame
shot in Switzerland will be talked about
for camera work.
will be a hardcore rib tickler and a
total laugh riot”
How did you choose ‘Yes Boss’?
When Maddy and I decided to work together, we
were discussing many scripts and opted to do a
remake and zeroed in on ‘Yes Boss’
which was a hit during the 90s with Shah Rukh
as the hero. We have altered the script to suit
the contemporary trend.
En Aalu with Naan Avanillai and Thotta
Naan Avanillai is
a Tamil remake of the film with the same title
while Thotta is all about gangsters. These two
films did not have much of comedy elements in
it. But Guru will be a hardcore rib tickler and
a total laugh riot. I pray that just like Naan
Avanillai and Thotta, Guru also will be liked
by everyone and would run for 100 days.
is the theme in Guru…?
has some kind of goal in their life. In today’s
world, the younger generation is keen to achieve
this in a fast track mode and want to settle down
fast. My hero and heroine who are in love with
each other also belong to the same genre. How
they infuse their love into their goal is what
I have discussed in the film. As regards this
story, performance is very essential and I cannot
rely on any other gimmicks. My cast has perfectly
understood this and delivered the goods. This
is the highlight of my film.
is your opinion on remake films?
first began remaking from Tamil to Tamil in Naan
Avanillai. I can proudly say that I am influenced
by K Balachander. When I watched K B’s Naan
Avanillai, I was totally floored by its ‘avant
garde’ theme. For a film which was shot
some 35 years ago, the theme is still contemporary.
When I knew that the response of the film was
not too good in those days, I wanted to make the
theme popular. That’s when I decided to
remake the film. Naan Avanillai’s success
encouraged me to try out KB’s other films
also and I will be remaking Nootrukku Nooru in
you be remixing ‘Naan Unnai Vazhthi Padugiren’?
yet thought about.
will team up with Ajith once again”
was introduced as a hero through your
movie Amaravathi. Any plans to work
with Ajith again?
we would like to team up. Actually,
I was to do Kireedom but the production
house wanted to try out a new director.
Hence, I could not do that film. When
the right time comes, I am sure we would
once again do a film together.
film that you recently saw and liked?
I marvel at Kamal’s determination,
perseverance and his serious attitude
towards work. Although he is such an
experienced actor, he considers every
film as his first project and works
very diligently. The younger brood should
learn a lot from this master actor.
directing older superstars like Rajni
& Vijaykanth and newer superstars
like Vikram and Surya?
are on to direct Vijaykanth. It may
happen in future. I got a prospect to
direct Sarathkumar but it did not work
out. With Ajith, we planned to do another
film but it got shelved due to FEFSI
issues but we would be teaming up in
future. But with other actors, I did
not get any opportunity.
success of a bigger movie like Dasavatharam
to that of a smaller movie like Subramaniapuram
that Subramaniapuram is receiving is
encouraging as the cast consists of
enthusiastic newcomers. One needs to
certainly give accolades to the team
who worked so hard to bring in front
of us the events of the 80s. As regards
Dasavatharam, it is a Kamal’s
film and is a technical marvel. In my
opinion, Subramaniapuram scores over
Dasavatharam in that it had newcomers
who attempted something new and they
need to be encouraged which would pave
way for such quality attempts in mainstream
you want to act?
forte is direction and I enjoy it every
bit. I also feel that I am yet to accomplish
in the field of direction. And secondly
as I concentrate on story and direction
I do not have the time to act. When
I reach a level of saturation in direction,
I may attempt something different. Till
such period, I am happy directing.
Maddy is considered to be someone who
comes up with lot of inputs. Did you
find it interfering?
am a team player and the moment I start
work, I tell my unit that we need to
work as a team to win. This is what
I follow till date and I have not faced
any problem with any actor and I don’t
foresee such things in future also.
I am a friendly director.
needs to be encouraged”
about directing Telugu and Hindi films?
got offers to direct Telugu films twice, but as
my hands are full with Tamil projects, I am yet
to venture into Telugu industry. As regards Hindi
films, producer of Naan Avanillai, Nemichand Jhabhak
is planning to make Naan Avanillai in Hindi in
which case I will be directing my first Hindi
film which may happen next year.
us something about your college life
my school days, I was very much interested in
theatre. I graduated from Pachaippa’s college,
Chennai, and that’s where the seed to prove
myself in film world was sown in my mind. At Pachaippa’s
I came under the influence of Director A S Prakasam
who was also my professor. Although I was keen
to work under him, I never got the opportunity.
serials and the route to filmdom
my tenure at Pachaippa’s college, through
my very close friend Sampathkumar I joined as
an assistant director in an advertising firm which
was involved in making ad film, documentary and
short films and I worked there for two years.
I worked in my first television serial titled
maiden directorial venture was a documentary film
on poet Bharathi running for thirty minutes which
was screened in Delhi Doordarshan. The very name
of Subramania Bharathi brings to mind his majestic
head gear and I had shot an entire film using
only the head gear to convey things. This innovative
concept was appreciated by everyone and the documentary
served as an entry ticket for my next project
wherein I was asked to direct eminent writer Akilon’s
Gnanapeeth award winning novel Chithira Paavai
which was to be telecast in Doordarshan. It was
a thirteen episode serial which had Vaishnavi,
Fathima Babu, Nazar and many leading TV personalities.
Though Chithira Paavai earned me a good repute,
I was yet to become popular.
Subsequently I received another offer to direct
a TV serial called Neela Mala from Chozha creations.
I was very zealous to enter films using Neela
Mala which was telecast on Sunday mornings. This
serial had the necessary impact that I was hoping
for and made me and my entire team famous and
we became a household name. Many talented artists
like Thalaivaasal Vijay, Keladi Kanmani Neena,
and Mahanadi Shobana featured in the serial. The
success of the serial facilitated Chozha creation’s
re-entry into film world and they gave my first
opportunity to direct ‘Thalai Vaasal’
in 1991. Till date I am indebted to Chozha creations
for this opening and the trust that they had vested
your early films
introduced me to filmdom. In Thalaivaasal, except
for playback singer S P Balasubramanain, everyone
in the cast was new like Bhanuprakash and Vijay
who later came to be known as Thalaivasal Vijay.
It is a story revolving around college life which
forms the foundation stone for the future of any
individual. The film won good reviews and it fetched
me a chance to direct Chozha creation’s
next film. Thalaivasal was an action packed film
and we decided to have romance as the backdrop
in our next film, Amaravathi, which again had
many newcomers. Playback singer SPB introduced
us to Ajith who was then acting in a Telugu film.
Ajith liked our script and we introduced Sangavi
as the heroine. Although the film did not do too
well, it gave me recognition in the film industry
as a good technician. But I learnt a valuable
lesson that unless a film is commercial success,
it is very difficult to survive in the film industry
despite the critical acclaim one receives. Almost
for 30 days, I analyzed the situation and learnt
the nuances to make a commercial potboiler and
totally changed my tracks to give such films.
From then on, it has been only commercial films
for me. Subsequently I went on to do Karna with
Arjun, Goundamani and Senthil, an out and out
commercial film. Then came Pudaiyal, Sishya, Pooveli,
Roja Vanam, James Paandu, Student No.1, Aasaiyil
Oor Kadidam, Naan Avanillai, Thotta etc. Till
date I am treading a path which satisfies my producer,
distributor and at the same time gives me also
some kind of artistic satisfaction.
on M G R being your inspiration
decided to shift to commercial stream,
the first person who amazed me and had
a long lasting effect is M G R and I
chose to follow his path. His films
are liked by everyone, they are commercial
hits and at the same time had some kind
of message to give our society. The
manner in which songs were picturised
in his films was totally enchanting,
specially in Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban.
His films were all minimum guarantee
films and the producers were a happy
lot. Like any other fan of M G R, I
worship him and as a small mark of my
respect to this remarkable man, I have
kept his photograph in my office and
look up to him for my inspiration.
is your opinion on the many issues faced
by the film industry?
salary issues keep cropping up. But
as there are unions to represent every
section of the film industry, the respective
councils are resolving them.
I thank Behindwoods for sharing my journey
in the film world with everyone.