Home > Interviews


Interview Team : Sudharshan

Kalyana Samayal Saadham, a beautiful, honest and a feel good romantic comedy that released last week has apparently touched a lot of hearts. RS Prasanna, the director of the film, in an elaborate interview with Behindwoods, shares his experience, visions, thoughts and a lot of things.

I’m RS Prasanna…

As a toddler, I took to stage. I was always interested in theatre. Later, after my 12th, when you generally decide on your career, I realized that all the magical moments happen only when you create art. That’s when I realized that film making is what is in me. I cannot imagine myself sitting in an office and do a routine 9 to 5. I knew it was a very tough scenario out there.

But then Hyderabad Blues released and it made a good impression. Like Kalyana Samayal Saadham, that was also a feel good film and discussed boldly about sex and stuffs. Again, it was made on a small budget and went on to become a massive hit. I thought, if Indian cinema was ready for such films, I’m game too. Then I did my filmmaking in LV Prasad Institute; won a gold medal for the best director from AR Rahman sir and K Balachander sir.

Balumahendra sir taught me direction there. He keeps saying, “Copy from life and not from other movies.” There was this one question that kept pricking me- “Why are we always watching Iranian movies in thiruttu VCDs and praising them. When will they start celebrating our movies?”

How’s KSS film doing?

The film has got tremendous response. After the first three days, we got a confirmation that the screens have been increased across Tamil Nadu. I hear that there’s very good demand for the movie. It opened with a very few shows in Bangalore and now the number of screens has been increased to 22. There’s also a show in Mysore, which I’m told is huge for a Tamil film.

So, I don’t want to jinx it (laughs).

The confidence to do something so sophisticated…

There’s always a movie that acts as a turnkey. For instance, before the release of Dil Chahta Hai, people kept bashing it. But, once it released, it paved way for a new market. Many films released on the same line.

In our case, boldly discussing about such sophisticated subjects in an urban market is something fresh. But, the subject isn’t alien. It is something that I see all around me. I’m a city guy and I’m not ashamed about it. I’m a fan of Bharathiraja and one day I’ll make a rural movie myself. I get angry if someone says that rural populace is less intelligent and urban guys are geniuses. Kalyana Samayal Saadham is a universal subject and it’s an honest film, from my heart.

Like Balu sir said, I copied KSS from my life. To be more precise, the innocent bits are from my life and the naughty parts are absolutely imaginary!

The hunt for producers...

Honestly speaking, I’ve been blessed. I’ve not taken the complete script to any producers. I happened to say the concept alone to Arun (Vaidhyanathan) in August 2008, when I got the gold medal. I told him I’d like to do a film on marriage. He liked the concept and said he’d produce it. He was the first person and the only one I met.

Arun’s contribution…

Arun is deeply involved in this. He and I met online. Like the Mella Sirithal song, we both dated online. We call it the Cinema Dating. The love we both had for cinema is what connected us. We shared our short films with each other. This was in 2006.

Later when I saw him in 2008, Karthik Raja was working on the background music for his Achamundu Achamundu. Arun hadn’t released his movie. But he said he’d produce my movie and I believed in him. Back then, I hadn’t even thought about the central naughty theme. All I had in my mind was a Monsoon Wedding like movie.

For the next three years…

After I narrated the theme to Arun in 2008, I kept myself busy with my business for the next three years. But I made sure I remained in the film industry. I still teach filmmaking. I use cinema as a tool to train corporates.

I was also writing for Santosh Sivan. In fact, I wrote the early drafts of Ceylon. But, I don’t call it scripts. I call it love letters to Santosh Sivan. Just to work with him is a huge honor for me.  

During that time, Arun contacted me again and said one of his friends, Ananth Govindan is looking to produce a small budget venture. I met him and narrated the story. Just, one month before that, I had come up with the naughty theme as the driving force of the story. 

Ananth loved the story and he paid me to write the script. We worked on the script for 2 months. Arun contributed some special dialogues. He penned the gemmology and Sidha Maruthuva Salai sequences.

So, how much of this film is from your personal life?

Well, definitely not the main problem. The proof is my five month old kid (Laughs). Yes, I’ve been blessed with a beautiful baby boy. The small fights in the second half were from my life.

Even in a comedy movie, you need an emotional core. I believe that people would love the characters and connect with them, only if there’s emotional honesty. Only then they’ll laugh when there’s a real comedy.

“You need to be at least 40 to make a good relationship based film”- These are K Balachander’s words. You don’t look 40...

No… I’m 29. I like things that are very subtle. I’m a huge fan of Mani Ratnam sir and K Balachander sir. I wanted to make a point. All I wanted was, the film to be real and subtle. I cannot accept bad acting. Again, like Balu sir said, I copied from real life. I think people are very subtle in real life. I try to think how people would react to such situations. 

Eyes are the most expressive part of the human body. If you had noticed the ‘Kadhal Marandhayada’ sequence, Lekha and Prasanna would have done all the talking through their eyes. People seem to have noticed that and have appreciated us for that.

Cinema, as a medium is larger than life. Like a microscope, it helps us to blow up things. You cannot capture subtle emotions with naked eyes that skim through things. So, I used the medium to blow up the minute emotions of Meera and Raghu.

“Lekha Washington fitted it to the T…”

First of all, this is not an ‘Iyer movie’. Marriage is common to all communities and celebration is also common.

I met Lekha long ago during a play. She is a very intelligent and a fantastic actor on stage. For KSS, I wanted an actress who represented the modern Tamil women. Lekha fitted it to the T. She read the script and loved it.  The first thing she asked me after going through the script was, “When do I start shooting?”

She paid her own flight tickets for the screen tests. That’s dedication. The whole team loved her.

In fact, the moment she was on board, she started giving suggestions on how Meera should be. And I loved the fact that she was bold enough to speak her mind.

Deepa Venkat - The voice actor

Deepa Venkat has dubbed for Lekha in the movie. She has done it so brilliantly that people are actually thinking that Lekha has dubbed for herself. Lekha speaks good Tamil, but she has a thick accent.

Deepa took time and absorbed Lekha’s voice and did a brilliant job. I don't call her a dubbing artiste. She’s a voice actor.

“Arun, the marriage broker, Prasanna the groom and I’m the bride…”

Prasanna was the only actor I approached for the lead role. Arun Vaidhyanathan was our marriage broker, Prasanna was the groom and let’s just say I was the bride. Prasanna agreed to the script immediately.

Delhi Ganesh…

The general practice is to write a story, with a particular hero in the mind. But I had fixed Delhi Ganesh sir, while writing KSS. I’m a huge fan of his.

When I narrated the Kalyana Mandapam scene, where he explains what happens at each spot, he gave me half an hour’s materials and the whole sequence was spontaneous. He went on and on and we kept laughing for the whole act.

“When you cast right, half of your job is done…”

I’m a theater artiste myself and I love to act. But, I do not act it out when I’m directing. I have a way of directing my actors very subtly. I like talking to them psychologically.

When you cast right, half of your job is done. Then I just have to create the ambience and show them the way.

If I have to direct you, I’ll tell you where you are and where you have to go. How you do it is left to you. I let you act first during the rehearsals, before going to the shot.

A ‘family’ entertainer...

My mom and dad were the junior artistes in the movie. They are my parents, so I can take them for granted. My wife, my in laws and close buddies appear in minute parts. I have primarily used them to create the crowded ambience. Not just that KSS is a small budget film, I preferred real people to create the ambience, rather than using junior artistes. 

Apart from them, Praveen and Raghav are my long time friends.

Brain behind Mella Sirithal...

Let’s says brains. It was already in the script. A year back, when I wrote the script, I had mentioned in it that, this song would be a collage of Facebook timelines.

It has always been my desire to introduce a different format in song picturization. Ananth Govindan has a deep musical knowledge and he wanted a song in Amrutavarshini Raag. I wanted the song to be in Kathana Kuthoogalam Raag.  To give you an example of how conflicts are solved in Cinema, our composer Arrora, a genius that he is, made a song with both the Raagas. I think that’s also a major reason why the song became a huge hit. The song is traditionally rooted, but the presentation is so modern.

“Am I a man because I can get it up?”

This movie attacks at the very base of masculinity. What it is to be a man? Am I a man because I can get it up? I believe, I’m a man because I stand up for the woman I love.  That is what this movie is about.    

There’s a lot of me in the movie. I made Kalyana Samayal Saadham because I believe whatever is in it. Personally, If I had succumbed to this kind of problem, that’s how I would have reacted. I would’ve definitely asked the girl to look for a better match. And, I really believe that’s how a decent man would behave.

On the whole, the movie is about what it is to be a man.

You know what makes me happy? In these times, where women are falling victim to sexism, chauvinism and stuff, they come to this film and are having a ball.

This is how my mother brought me up! Mother teaches how to treat a woman and Father shows how to do it. From my mom, grandma to my wife, I’ve had fantastic  women in my life. I cannot but respect them.

The U/A certificate…

I’m not at right to comment on that. But, personally, no matter if people get the joke or not, they’ll laugh for sure. I don’t think anyone would feel squirmy watching my movie. In the end, people have all the right to hate or love a film.

“Thanks to CV Kumar…”

Karthik Subbaraj is a very good friend of mine and I told my story to him. Outside my team, I’ve only told the story to two people- Karthik and Bejoy Nambiar. Both fell down laughing.

Karthik then introduced me to CV Kumar. By that time Mella Sirithal had released and it went viral instantly. CVK came to our office, heard the story and watched a couple of scenes from the movie. He loved it and said he’ll buy the film.

I’m a director and business isn’t my area of expertise. All I needed was a couple of good words from CVK and after watching the first copy, he said “I love the film”.  That’s all I wanted to hear from him. I have so much regard for him, because he is a lover of good cinema.

The kind of reception you dreamt of…

Remarkably, in life, when you don’t expect anything, you get everything. This is one example. I’m no saint and of course I’m overwhelmed by the reception. All I wanted to do was a film that I love. I believed that if I could make an honest film, people would love it.  

You wouldn’t believe it. People are actually calling me at 1.30 AM and recalling the scenes they loved in the movie. Everything in the movie, I wanted to be recognized, has been recognized.

In today’s scenario, being a fresh team, how difficult is it to bring out your product?

In today’s scenario, it is actually easy. People like CV Kumar are there to lend you a hand.

Your comfort zone…

I don’t get comfortable… That’s my comfort zone. You can be very confident that my next film will be nothing like KSS. That much I can assure you.

My next one will definitely be different. Else, I’ll be bored myself. Spielberg is my Guru there. Every film of his is different from the previous one.

“I’m here to…”

I’m here to say good stories. I’ll say a different one every time. I don’t think I can make movies that are depressing. I want to do films that gives hope. I get turned on by craft  and I like to do movies where the intelligence of the script is appreciated.

Is there anything you wouldn’t do in your films?

Nothing like that yet. I mean, there might be hundreds of people who’d want to say what I don’t want to.

The ‘not so good’ feedback...

I heard few people saying that there’s a lag in the second half. But, my argument is that there’s a serious issue going on and if people laugh there, that is my failure. I wanted those 15 to 20 minutes of slow pace. Not only that it brought seriousness to the film, I believe it added to the overall beauty of the product. And, more than anything, that drop contributes to the emotional peak that follows.

The old world and the new world...

It’s a good thing that a lot of good movies are doing great business. I think that’s because of the exposure. The economic development, the growth of urban population, the growth in the corporate market and things like that has changed the perspectives of the people. A lot of people are watching other language movies, Hollywood movie and even world cinema. It has always been in the nature that every next-gen is open and more liberal. The more you have  exposure to the outside world, it’ll pave way for liberal thoughts. Thanks to internet, there’s no scarcity of exposure.

You can also argue that our tradition would turn vulnerable due to these changes. I see it the different way. If I disagree with a man, he’ll not let his long ‘Aruvaal’ do the talking. That is old world. I can disagree and still have a coffee with him. That’s new age.

Virumaandi is like holy bible to me…

In recent times, I think  Aaranya Kaandam is my favorite. It is one of the finest films to come out of Tamil Cinema. I lost my sleep after watching the movie. I fell in love with the director. I’ve never met Thiagarajan Kumararaja. But, had I met him somewhere, I’d have hugged him.

But if you ask me about my favorite film this year, it’d be Soodhu Kavvum. Although, I understand that it’s a unanimous favorite. During the post-production of KSS, we’d all go to Soodhu Kavvum, just to break the stress. I don’t know how many times we watched that film.

But the boldest ever Tamil film would be Guna. I wanted to plunge into cinema after watching that piece of art. I was in my second grade, when the movie released. Also, I identified so deeply with the film. Like Guna, who is so mad about Abirami, I’m mad about cinema. I think, it’s a risk to release that film even today. Imagine the guts and confidence Kamal had. Guna, to me, is a poetry.

I’m a huge fan of Kamal. His Virumaandi is like holy bible to me!

What next?

My first plan is to make KSS a hit. The film must make both the producers and the audiences happy.

As for my future films, yes, by god’s grace, there are a couple of projects I’m discussing. Hopefully, we’ll make the announcements very soon.

It’ll be a fun film, for sure. I’m no Kamal sir to attempt something like Guna in my second venture. I don’t have the guts.

But it’ll be a complete fun filled entertainer. There’ll also be a good message. Although not as startling as KSS. How can you possibly shock people more?

Jokes apart… My next one will also be an honest film and I’ll put my heart and soul to it.

Good job, RSP, with Kalyana Samayal Saadham and we hope you keep surprising us with many more fascinating tales!

PS: The naughtier the best!



This page hosts exclusive interviews with actors, actresses, film technicians and related celebrities. The interviews are generally personal views of the guest about their projects and film related matters. People looking for information about actors, actresses, directors, music directors, cameramen and other technicians will find this page useful.