We all know Pandiraj for the 2009 release Pasanga that even went on to win the National Award for the best Tamil film. Post the success of Vamsam, he is back in a dual role of a producer-director for his next in Marina. Starring Siva Karthikeyan and Oviya playing lead roles the film is set to release on February 3rd, and yes children will be at the soul of the script here again. We had a brief chat with the director; here is an excerpt from the interview.
Hi Pandiraj sir, we hear from the locals that there is going to be a screening of your movie at the beach soon?
Well I am not sure if it will be at the beach itself but yes, I have plans for a special show dedicated to the homeless people residing here at the Marina beach.
Nice, without wasting much of your time we would love to ask you about the story behind Marina?
First of all I would like to tell you that the story is about the life of several kids who live in and around the beach. It all started one day when at the beach a boy came to me, carrying soondal (boiled and garnished chickpeas).What surprised me was that he recognized me and in excitement told me that he belonged to my native place Sivaganga. I was so glad that we connected so well, so I asked him about his background.
What did he say?
He was Balan and unfortunately this boy had only studied till eighth standard, following which, he was sent to Chennai in order to make money and settle his father’s huge debt. Talking with Balan, I also came to know about his friends.So I thought I must do a bit of research on this, you know I was curious. As time went by and I became obsessed with my research, I found out that most of the soondal boys are from areas like Ramanathapuram, Sivaganaga and Rajapalayam, the reason the turn to this is because the land is dry in such places and there is very little rain. My movie too is a story of all the little boys who sell soondal at the beach.
Well, at other instances I would just walk at the beach in the evenings and would notice the couples who would come hand in hand, coochie-coo and then go back fighting! I also, saw many mentally challenged people. Then there were those people who were begging for food. If you talk to them, you will find that each and every one has a heartbreaking story to tell. The boys who work here are the younger lot; the elder set of them got places like Singapore and Malaysia to work. Similarly, the number of people you see and the number of stories you hear are mind boggling.
That is amazing, it is sad that many of us ignore these children and overlook their stories. Well sir your first film Pasanga focused on children and now, Marina does the same. We know it is not a conscious effort but still do you think you love to work around children a lot more?
Exactly, you said it ! I love working with children; it gives me an immense sense of fulfillment when I am with them. You know it is not so easy to have a special bonding with children, I guess I feel comfortable with them. It’s tough the first few days but later it gets very easy. After Pasanga happened I was not thinking of making another film with children, somehow Marina was planned in a short time and I am glad we came through with it.
Sounds good! How did you zero in on Siva Karthikeyan for the hero? Tell us a little more on the characters in the movie.
Everything is like an ocean. Just as it’s tough to pick shells from the beach, it was tough to pick the right characters. I saw Siva at a function; initially I was observing his body language so I felt that
he would be the ideal as hero. It has a love story told in a comical way, and the lead pair actually has a comical chemistry between them and he was a suitable choice for the same.
Where does Marina beach fit in the film?
Well, long story cut short Marina is the hero in this film. You know sometimes in life you are stuck and so I was also stuck thinking about a name for the movie. Often the policemen who stood by would ask me if the title of the film was Marina. As I told you I didn’t have a title for the film when I began shooting so we eventually named it Marina. You like the name?
Certainly we do, you know listening to your theme I too believe the policeman have a great taste.
Haha, will tell them surely, they will love it.
You should, so what is the script about?
The story of the film centers’ on the boys who sell soondal and all the other stories are added to it. As in Pasanga which was a pucca commercial film, Marina also is a commercial package.
So you must be really now that your movie is set for release. Is it a pressure to direct after winning National awards?
Thanks to our crew, everyone has worked very hard on Marina. Well I didn’t make Pasanga with any awards in mind but I was certainly happy that we won so many. I have many awards lining my office so I am not really after awards as such. But yes, it will make me happy if we win more! So there’s no pressure as such.
Before you leave sir anything you want your fans to look out for in the movie?
After watching the movie, each and every one of will definitely feel how fortunate you are, and how kind God has been to you. The beautiful thing is that nobody born in this world is an orphan and everybody has someone to love and be loved by and of course it is the responsibility of those elders to hold on to their children.
At this tender age many kids have ignored studies maybe it is because of their circumstances but you cannot substitute anything for studies. The good news is that we are going to admit Balan and three more boys in school for the upcoming academic year. They can sell soondal on the beach but only after they complete their school during the day.
Wow, we have no words to express how joyful we feel at the moment. Certainly your noble efforts will bring in all the success and admiration. Thank you for your time sir.