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Do we choose our own destiny?
Or is it the hand of God that plays an integral part in our lives?

I asked this question that pops up in my mind from time to time to director Sharada Ramanathan. Her interesting and immediate reply set the ball rolling for this episode of ‘talkie with rekhs’…read on…

‘We have a 75-25 stake holding, 75% is God’s and that’s why
(S)He puts us in this world to work on our karmas’!
Wow! I thought here’s one heaven-of-an assertive self assured woman who knows her own mind and believes in her convictions.

Her slice of life in the prestigious Ford Foundation, New Delhi, as program officer was from 1995 to 2003 when media, arts and culture was at its fledgling level. It became her fort and forte! It honed her innate aesthetic skills and awareness to our rich heritage. The next few years as an essential part of the think tank for UNDP she gave her ‘2 Rs worth’ towards empowering women and girls,  redefining human progress and how best to tap the ‘more than 5000 year old’ cultural heritage we proudly possess. She attended many seminars and workshops on women empowerment.

This gave her the ‘seed for thought’ on feminism. She researched the devadasi history and found that they learnt 4 to 5 languages, in the1920s learnt English when many men did not have a desire to know the language, acted as spies. They knew how to deal with men and never stepped into the kitchen or cooked!!
How emancipated is that!

Equipped with a diploma in short term film-making course in L.A and in SAE institute Chennai, a director-embryo was born!
One thing led to another sequentially and her fingers dialed a call to Madhu Ambat, “My name is Sharada, you don’t know me, I know you and I want to work with you on a film about devadasis”

Rest of the story is Sringaram that won 3 national awards!
Lalgudi Jayaraman, besides being a well-known violinist vocalist and composer to the world is Sharada’s close family friend. Short of holding a gun to his head, Sharada bulldozed him into being the soul to her film along with Madhu Ambat’s visual treat(ise)! The 3rdperson she called was choreographer Saroj khan to whom her opening lines were ”I have never made a film in my life and I just have an idea, Can I meet you?”

Such perseverance is the reinforced concrete to the foundation of her ‘Sringaram’ a beautiful labor of love!

She never dreamt she’d get 3 national awards for her film, let alone one! All she concentrated on was getting the next step right.
Feedback for her debut film was awe inspiring and amazing from Aruna Roy, political and social activist, Aditya raj kapoor, son of  legend Shammi kapoor, Pandit Ravishankar ji who gave her the biggest hug of her life!

A.R.Rahman said “ you are gonna rock” and Rajinikanth our own superstar endorsed him. Sharada believes that both ARR and superstar have an innate and heightened sense of aesthetics and they both observe the smallest of nuances in a film in an exceptional way.

Having experienced the high-5s of her career,  2008-2009 she spent with her mother who was diagnosed with cancer. Regarding this slice of her life Sharada says, “I celebrated my mother’s life by being with her”. She cancelled all her interviews, programs, meetings just to be with the one who always and in all ways gave her unconditional love.  My eyes welled up with tears because I know how it must be to give up something you love (and taste the initial flavors of success)on the basis of love-priority! What makes this woman of substance even more endearing is that she is human enough to say, “she was my mother, rekhs, and how can I NOT be with her when she needed me most?”
When push comes to shove I wonder how many of us really will? Isn’t ‘amma’ the most ‘taken for granted person’ in our lives?! Of course we should do what Sharada did, but an easier way out is to set a proxy by way of nurse, family member, distant relative and just peep in and peep out too!
This is total commitment of a rare humanE kind.

The present slice in this lady with a blend of contemporary and the classic is ‘Pudhiya thiruppangaL” starring Nandha, Andrea and Surveen, with music by Vidyasagar, camera of course Madhu Ambat. ‘Twist of fate’ is produced by this gentleman who goes by the abbreviated name TCS, not the global IT services, but To Create Success worldwide!

Sharada’s penchant for the girl child has moulded an unusual story that portrays a journey between a city bred youth and a girl child. The hero is single and the child is not challenged in any way.

Has Sharada utilized her 25% to the max …lets wait and watch what she will deliver next…her twist of fate is just around the corner.

Her words of pride “I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with a man without being a man” mark the new-age woman who has come to stay!

Lets rock on…with what we are meant to ‘define and destine’


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