Mookuthi Amman, going by the trailer, seeks to push the narrative on what devotion means. It additionally speaks about points such because the psychological well being throughout the aged.
RJ Balaji was nonetheless at school when he noticed his first saami padam (devotional movie) on tv. It was Thiruvilaiyadal, the 1965 movie starring Sivaji Ganesan, Nagesh and Savithri, amongst others, which strung collectively tales that spoke of the greatness of Lord Shiva. “In today’s context, it would probably be called an anthology,” laughs Balaji, talking after a protracted tiring day crammed with interviews and IPL 2020 cricket commentary. “I loved the stories and how they all left you with hope.”
That hope is what he needs his Nayanthara-starrer Mookuthi Amman, will unfold. The movie straight premieres on Disney+Hotstar on 14 November, on Diwali — a steep climb for somebody who as soon as waited to observe Deepavali releases. Mookuthi Amman, going by the trailer, seeks to push the narrative on what devotion means. It additionally speaks about points such because the psychological well being throughout the aged. The movie may set off controversy and debate, however that’s been Balaji’s type from his radio jockey days in Coimbatore. In a present excessive on leisure, he would discover a strategy to talk about one thing affecting society.
Two elements of the movie that Balaji, who co-directed it with NJ Saravanan, could be very proud about are the psychological well being angle and the significance given to the movie’s girls. “We have created some really powerful characters, something I have missed seeing on screen for some years now. Also, while we speak of depression today, we rarely wonder if our mothers and the elderly women at home experienced it. They probably did not even know to give it a name, and suffered in silence. If my film adds to the understanding about depression, even if in a small way, I will be happy.”
His earlier movie LKG, the writing credit of which learn “RJ Balaji and Friends”, might need set off snigger bombs, however got here with a message: If politicians are incorrect to bribe voters, are voters who settle for that bribe right?
Balaji’s humour doesn’t fall beneath a sure bar, a behavior that’s ingrained in most RJs. That is one thing comic Aiyyo Shraddha says too. A profession in radio-jockeying trains you to talk in a selected means and make a degree with out antagonising anybody. “More than knowing what to say, I definitely know what not to say,” says Balaji. Mookuthi Amman, in his head, “is about this family that is led by a woman, which is in great difficulty, and how the family goddess helps them vanquish the villain”.
Balaji wished to be factually proper too, like throughout his early days in RJ-ing when he would pore over the town dietary supplements, to remain in tune with what was occurring. “I watched films and documentaries, read books, went to government offices… and then wrote the film,” he says.
As an actor, whereas some movies gave Balaji reputation, the artiste in him was not very happy. “I was not happy and felt like a misfit as an actor. Sometimes, all I did was stand next to the hero and do nothing. I started getting bored. I have always learnt on the job, and I decided that I shall do that again, in films too. I wanted to take a break before the audience decided it did not want to see me any more,” he explains.
Balaji determined the way in which ahead was making a movie the place the hero is a traditional individual, somebody you and I would meet on the highway. “If not, most heroes have been both a rowdy or a police officer. I would like my movies to be concerning the husband who has misplaced his job, the engineer who’s apprehensive about life… even in Mookuthi, the mother-son relationship breathes, it’s regular. I’ve not over-glorified the mom or the son. I wrote the characters as near actuality as I may.”
LKG gave Balaji the arrogance that he may write a movie that might retain viewer curiosity for 2 hours, with out it wanting awkward. And when he noticed some rushes of Mookuthi Amman, he knew a number of the studying had been put to make use of.
Once Mookuthi Amman releases, Balaji hopes to get again to the writing desk after a break. As at all times, this too will contain a number of prepping and a number of drafts earlier than the script is locked, and a fast shoot. “We shot this film across 44 locations in 50 days. For the climax, we brought in 7,500 people and shot from 6 am to 2 am,” says Balaji. For the climax, he roped in native artistes, and plenty of got here by to inform him they’ve by no means been handled as effectively on a set. “I think that comes from wanting to offer others what I expect. I have to respect their time and talent, like others respect mine,” he says.
Balaji additionally takes the time to discuss the voice appearing of Deepa Venkat, who has dubbed for Nayanthara within the movie. “She matched and elevated Nayanthara’s efficiency. She is so devoted, she got here to the dubbing theatre a fortnight after she recovered from COVID-19 , and gave her finest,” he says.
While he tries to remain away from tags and stereotypes, the RJ-turned-actor-turned director acknowledges that it’s a steep studying curve and that he must be up to the mark to make sure he doesn’t keep on with doing the plain.
And whereas studying, he hopes to grow to be a greater human being too. The variety that may act on passing conversations amongst artistes on the set and be sure that as a substitute of tea, Horlicks and Boost and samosas are served. “Without a joy-filled set, you cannot make a good film. You have to treat people equally, and it matters that you are a good person too,” he says.
Watch the trailer of Mookuthi Amman right here —
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