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When did you realize that cinema was your vocation?
I started out as a media photographer; I also acted and directed in a traveling theater company. There is a stigma towards women who work in the film industry, and so when I wanted to get into the business, I decided to work with someone I already knew. Director Kamalakannan is an acquaintance and I found him to be someone who was comfortable working with. Meanwhile, actor Pavel Navageethan, a friend of mine, invited me to join Bramma for Magalir Mattum. After a formal interview, I joined his team.
What are your impressions of your directors?
Bramma is organized, and I realized the importance of that only after seeing how chaotic the other settings were. With Kamalakannan, it was like working as a family. He would allow anyone to contribute to the film. During this time, I knew Balaji from his RJ days. His team is laid back and he goes the extra mile to make sure the whole team is comfortable.
What’s the strangest or most memorable thing you’ve seen or done as a DA?
A busy filming schedule for Mokuthi Amman in Nagercoil was made manageable by the residents of that city, who were extremely accommodating. They often served us food that they cooked and it was great to be around such nice people.
What area of ââcinema have you struggled with but are better at now?
As someone with a background in theater and media, I didn’t have a lot of problems with the technical aspects. What seemed overwhelming was keeping the environment chaotic. It took me a while to cultivate this confidence. Another challenge is getting the rest of the cast and team to share your vision and make sure everyone is on the same page.
How do you see current cinema?
The filmmakers have finally understood the need to have women on their teams and the importance of encouraging the perspectives of women in their screenplays. Previously, AD women were mainly used for costumes. Now we also share opinions on the story and the situations. Improvement is slow, but I’m glad it’s happening. It took me so long to prove that I could offer more than just costume suggestions; I had to work harder than my male counterparts to make this point. Managers like Bramma make sure that every DA knows every department inside out.
What change would you like to see in Tamil cinema?
Approaching producers is a difficult task for new directors. Some production houses are organized and professional, and they explain the steps in how script approval works. Some even give us reasons for rejection. With most of the other houses, however, we have to wait months. During this time, we are also not allowed to present our script elsewhere. So, we are forced to have four to five different scripts on hand to present to different companies. Additionally, studios expect scripts to be in English, but there is a plethora of experienced ADs out there who are unfamiliar with the language and suffer from it.
Who would be the dream cast and / or team for your first project?
Making someone feel what you feel through music is an art, and for that reason I would like AR Rahman to make music for my film.
Films worked: Magalir Mattum, Vattam, Mokuthi Amman
Directors worked with: Bramma, Kamalakannan, RJ Balaji, NJ Saravanan
Main responsibilities: Costumes, Screenplay, Continuity