Interviewer : Inian | Camera : Balaji | Text : Daya Kingston
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Karunas began his career as a pop singer and dancer. He became a popular Gaana singer and then got a break as a comedian. He graduated as hero with Dindugul Sarathy, a story that traced the mind of a man with an inferiority complex married to a beautiful woman and his suspiciousness that threatens to ruin his life. Now he is back again with Ambasamudiram Ambani, yet another story with a difference. We catch up with him.
Greetings to all Behindwoods viewers. This is Karunas and the second film that I am starring as hero is Amabasumdiram Ambani. After the success of my earlier picture - Dindugul Sarathy produced by Sun Pictures, my team started working on this film. We have got a U Certificate and you can be assured that it’s a quality film for the family releasing on the 2nd July.

You supported me in Dindugul Sarathy and I request you to extend the same support to this venture by watching it with your family at theaters making it a big success. This is the dream of our team.

I have scored the music for this film and Vairamuthu Sir has penned all the lyrics. Kavignar said that after a long time I have written songs that go with the script of the film and it has inspired me. The title song Thanda Thanda Paani speaks about Thandapaani’s character and he has excelled in bringing the essence of the entire character into one song. He portrays his hardworking nature beautifully with the lines, ‘12 Mani Neram Suriyanukku, 12 Mani Neram Kariyamukku, Porada Kathukitta Vazhkaitukku, Poda po Veppam Poovil thenumirukku. Unnai Pettra; Chennai thaaney rendam annai. The songs have been reviewed very positively in the press. In UK, USA, Srilanka, Poo Pookum Tharunam and othakal have become top songs on Tamil radio stations.

The song is about a man who has come from the village to Chennai and come up in life honestly by working hard and sweating it out. The director P. Ramanath has been assisting me for many years, written many of my comedy tracks and even penned the screenplay and dialogue for Dindugul Sarathy. We have introduced him as a director.

The same way Pulithevan, the cameraman is being introduced. He is an experienced cameraman who has worked with KV Anand for over 10 years. His camera work will definitely come in for a lot of praise. Art Director Sura my friend is also been introduced.

My co-stars are Kota Srinivasa Rao, V.M.C. Haneefa, Livingston, Mayilsamy, T.P. Gajendran about 16 or 17 of them. I must thank the heroine in particular. Generally, if it’s a film with Karunas as a hero, heroines would have apprehensions. However, after hearing the story, she never even asked who the hero was yet agreed.

On the day of the shooting, she came from Mumbai. Initially, we had some trouble finding a heroine and those whom we found did not satisfy me. We had to get a heroine who would suit the roles and waited. Till the end, she co-operated very well and acted very well. She has starred as a heroine in Telugu and Malayalam films. She has also starred in a Tamil film with Vijayakanth Sir titled Arasangam. However, in this film, she felt like she was doing her first film as it has sentiment, comedy, the right mix of everything and she believed in it. Truly our team worked hard.

After the success of Dindigul Sarathy did you get the desire to do this film, Or was it just that you liked the script?

Even while doing Dindigul Sarathy, I knew it would be appreciated. We bought the rights for that film and for 2 years Ramanath and I traveled inside it. We would write scenes delete them and did a lot of hard work. The director Sivashanmugam did a lot of hard work and finished the film in a short period within budget. It gave me a better mileage and name than I expected and wanted to maintain that. I have also understood what will work for me and without crossing that line was Ambasamudram Ambani. After Dindugul Sarathy, we listened to 15 to 20 stories but then zeroed on to this line of Ramanath. In a line, it’s the life if a man who comes to Chennai from the village and comes up through hard work - the hardships he faced. As an artiste, it has given me full satisfaction.

Ambani is in Mumbai. What’s new in Ambasamudram Ambani?

Well, in my film you even have a dialogue to explain. Somebody asks “What is this Ambani, you have a small petty shop?” Today we talk about Anil Ambani in Mumbai. But his father Ambani, how did he start his career, when we read his life story, he states he married a lady 1 or 2 years older to him, just for the reason she brought about 3000 Rs more as dowry. He believed that would help him start a business. For the Tatas and Birlas, its different, they are 5 generations of rich people. As for Ambani, he is someone I have seen in my lifetime who has risen from the bottom to the top and to become like that is the dream of every youth and the story relates to this.

Will everyone who sees it be inspired to be like Ambani?

Definitely. After seeing this film, beyond Amabani, they will want to come up like Dhandapani. And those who have failed in something will regret and say, we should not have left it that day and tried. Those who have already won in life like Dandapani will be reminded of the path they trod. These incidents happen in each person’ s life at different stages. Even a Parota maker or tea master can dream of becoming an owner, the film will bring confidence.

After seeing this film, beyond

Amabani, they will want to come

up like Dhandapani

In Semmozhi, Tamil culture,

Panda Matram was reported

way back in the 5th century

After seeing the film, will people get the wrong idea about dowry?

Dowry is unavoidable. People say I am doing for my child. In Semmozhi, Tamil culture, Panda Matram was reported way back in the 5th century, when we give something we take something. The money for dowry is given so that the daughter should live well and that the man must invest it and grow it. That was a good thought. The way people use the money is what counts. The people who used it well were like Ambani who came up.

How did you trust a first time director Ramnath?

He is truthful, honest and has been with me for 15 years, He knows about me and I know about him. I had been keeping him with me with the idea of making him a director. The opportunity came and he told me a good story and I trust his work. Whoever is with me I want them to grow too. I have introduced him very confidently.

Can the film’s story show youth how to become rich?

None can make anyone rich; you have to be self made. Expecting the Government, in-laws, parents to do something is not right, that kind of low thinking should be removed. We have been born, while studying we must study well, then we must work hard. The theme of the film is that you must come up trusting in your hard work. How many youngsters see films and change but then there will be an impact. Like when you see Jackie Chan’s film, I recall I used to start the bike fast. A good film will disturb. Only if a film disturbs you, it’s a film.
Tell us about your work as a music director?

I was introduced as a music director in Rajathi Raja. Ramnath is aware of my music knowledge and said let’s do it. I got good songs and a big thanks to Kavignar Vairamuthu. He gave me a line, `Soru vachey oru sori naiyya naa vazhathen`. I asked him how a great poet like him could write that but he said he could not find words harsher than this for that particular space and asked me to keep it. He was very involved and would not only ask for the scene but also the scene before and after. For any doubt he would call.

My dream when I came to

Chennai was to become a music


My dream when I came to Chennai was to become a music director. When I used to see the hoardings at Tarapore Towers in Mount Road of Ilayaraja and Vairamuthu, I used to fantasize about it. Reading Karunas - Vairamuthu and the dream has come true and it is my biggest happiness.

Are you into philanthropy?

Help is not just money. When you give water when a person needs it or lend a shoulder when someone is in trouble, or speak a loving word it’s a help. Some of my relatives like my uncle who was in a family where even the next meal was a question. From that kind of a background, I had the basic education. I came to Chennai studied and worked, sang on stages, became a music director, made pop albums and became an actor through Bala. Many have helped me in different stages, many are blessing me and many are scolding as they think we may have forgotten them. I may not be able to meet them but they are seeing me in the media. I want to show my gratitude to those who helped me come up by helping others. Many like me must come up.

I want to build an Old Age home. A poem I once read disturbed me deeply, “Veetukku peyar Annai Illam aanal andha annai irupathu Aanaadhai illam.” When a child is born, the first to take care are parents, they look after us at every stage. When we were hungry they would even sacrifice their food for us. Once people are married and have children, they treat their parents with disrespect. Many youth commit this mistake. Only in old age parents greatly need love, youth should realize they will come to the same stage one day.

It’s a period of life like childhood. If a child makes a bed dirty we clean it lovingly, but old people, we treat badly. I would like to initially help 50 people. This is not for advertisement or to get donations, I am using my own money, and this will be undertaken by my family, my children and grandchildren. I am doing it in my savings will take time. I have bought 24 acres; I want 50 acres, fields, cows, that kind of thing. My wife and I are working at it.

My good film will release on 2nd July. 200 technicians have worked hard, so don’t watch pirated VCDs but watch it in theatres and encourage me to act in more films.

I thank Behindwoods viewers for watching me. If there are any faults please forgive me and accept the good part and encourage a growing artiste with love.

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