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Interview Team : Jyothsna

Producer/actor/director Sasikumar will be seen in Bala’s Tharai Thappattai as the lead and he takes time off from his busy schedule to talk to Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar about the film and director Bala. 


How do you explain working with the legend Bala?

To be very honest, it cannot be encompassed into words.  I started as an assistant in Sethu with Bala sir and the feelings and emotions that I went through standing before him in Thara Thappattai as an actor, cannot be explained. I cannot take the help of words to convey that feeling, it can only be experienced and I had the opportunity to feel it.


Like how, I was a student in Sethu, I stood before him in the same capacity for Thara Thappattai too. As I had learnt so much at the sets of Sethu, I had assimilated knowledge here too. I am very happy. When people are waiting to be cast in his film, I am elated that this opportunity has come in so early for me. It is definitely an unforgettable experience. 

It can only be experienced 


Tharai Thappattai – Did you agree to do the film because it is Bala sir’s or you liked the script?

One word - Bala sir. There is nothing to think or reflect upon. He told me the story later and asked me to get ready.


Preparations for or this role? 

Since the film is about dance forms, he made me go through dance classes. I learnt the basic skills of handling Nadaswaram and Thavil, like how to hold the instrument, stand with the same, play it and such details. I just got the nuances of the basic concepts with these instruments and I have not learnt the complete art; that would take many years. After getting through these basic lessons, we went for the shoot.


Bala’s films are known for their intensity. You play a character called Sannasi. Did Sannasi continue to live with you after the shoots too?

No! Sannasi stops when I pack up for the day because it is Bala sir’s character. This holds good not just for me, but for everyone involved in the film. It is not like as though we lived the character forever. No! We all went with a blank and free mind like how children go to school. Once I am done for the day, you will not find Sannasi in me. We did not even learn our lines on the previous day to prepare for the shoot.


Bala sir will give the dialogues to us on the spot and that’s where, his magic will begin. He will instruct and goad us in such a way that the characters he had envisaged will come alive.


He will tell us the minute details like how to look or move our eyes and we would simply follow. Everything is there within Bala sir, and he would transfer that to us; he will bring out what he expects. Once  we are finished for the day, he would take that off from us. We are all just characters and all the characters live within him. 

All the characters live within Bala sir


Did Bala sir appreciate any of your shots in the film? What was his reaction?

After we wrapped up, he appreciated me. He explained in detail and gave many tips for the future. I earned his plaudits after I finished the climax scene. He said, “Here after you can confidently try any character”. He also discussed my plus and minus. The greatest award for me is to have got the golden opportunity to act in his film. 

Here after you can confidently try any character


On your co-star Varalaxmi

She plays a character called Sooravali. She has done an extraordinary job in this film. She is such a hardworking artist who has given more than her 100% for this film. I am not sure if any other heroine would have rendered such a powerful performance. I am sure she would get a very good name for this film. 

I am not sure if any other heroine would have rendered such a powerful performance


Ilayaraja’s music-you are a part of a milestone. Which song from the film is your favorite?

I like all the songs in the film. But my favorite is Paaruruvaaya from Thiruvasagam which tugs at my heart’s strings every time I hear that. It gives me such a divine feeling. I am blessed to be in this film.

My favorite is Paaruruvaaya 


When you had that accident and when you were recuperating, what were your feelings? 

I had felt very sad because the shooting was proceeding at a brisk pace and we were almost completing it, nearing the climax portion. All this had to be stalled because of my accident. We just had to go to Andamans for a few segments.


That’s when the mishap happened and I thought I would be fine in three weeks. But it took four months. The pain was there and I felt I should have been more careful because the entire unit had to wait for me. One second of miscalculation has led to this as I missed the balance. It’s just not body pain, but also mental ache. I knew I had to get out of this and thankfully, I came out and completed the portions.  

It’s just not body pain, but also mental ache


Supporting cast

GM Kumar plays my father’s role. Studio 9 Suresh plays the villain. Amudavaanan, singer Anthony Dasan and Anandhi play my troupe members. There are many characters and most of them are new. Everybody has done their role well.


If you had to mention the USP of Thara Thappattai, what would it be?

If you just look at the films on folk art forms, tell me how many such films we have in Tamil? May be a few… Folk art forms are something which are on the verge of extinction. Folk Artists today are a marginalized populace. We need to take a step to preserve the art and its practitioners. This film will do that. Thara Thappattai will talk extensively about these artist’s feelings, their love, happiness, pain and their anger.   

We need to take a step to preserve the art and its practitioners


When will you direct again?

I will be completing my acting commitments and then I will start direction again.


You had produced a gem like Thalaimuraigal. Any plans of production in the near future?

As of now, no! I will complete one project at a time and then only start the next. Therefore it will only happen later. 



Wishing you the best Sasikumar and Team Tharai Thappattai!


Jyothsna Bhavanishankar