Interviewer : Inian & Jyothsna Bhavanishankar | Camera : Ganeshbabu | Text: Arun
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Mundhinam Parthene directed by Magilzh Thirumeni is receiving good reviews and so is the hero Sanjay’s natural performance. Sanjay talked to Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar and Iniyan and shared some of his experiences of MDP. Over to Sanjay

A small introduction?

HI, this is Sanjay. I was born and brought up in Chennai. I completed hotel management from the Institute of Hotel Management from Hyderabad and then went on to work as a chef in a 5 star hotel in Mumbai. But, my passion has always been cinema and so I enrolled myself in a five month course at the Kishore Namith Kapoor Film Institute in Mumbai. After that I came down to Chennai and started scouting for opportunities. Last year, I finally landed my first film, Mundhinam Partheney and today I am being introduced to you as the hero of the film.

" My passion has always

been cinema "

About the experience of Mundhinam Partheney

It was a great experience indeed! This is my first film and it is being produced by a reputed banner Seventh Channel Communications. Director, Magilzh Thirumeni has been an assistant with Gautham Menon and the camera was handled by Vincent, a former assistant of P.C. Sreeram while Thaman Sai has composed the music. Altogether, it felt great to be a part of such a team. Before we started shooting, the entire cast of the film had an intense one month session along with the director where he told us exactly what was expected in front of the camera. So, when the actual shooting began, we were well prepared and faced very few problems. And, when the songs were recorded and ready, the producer felt that they deserved to be shot really well and so we went to exotic locations like London and Venice to shoot them. Overall, a memorable experience!

About your first shot...

It was a montage shot and I don’t remember feeling very tense during the filming process. The fact that we had already worked things out during the month long workshop helped a lot. There are other new artistes in the film who appear as my friends. They used to come and tell me about being nervous on the sets. But, I was not; maybe because of the acting course that I had taken in Mumbai.

" All three heroines were

different kinds "

Three heroines in your very first film!

Yes, that did raise a few eyebrows. Having one heroine is good enough, but three of them in my very first film, it was great! But, the three characters don’t appear together in the film, but all of us used to be present on the sets at the same time. It felt really good, because all three heroines were different kinds of individuals. Even in the film, their characters have their own individuality and terms. It was only towards the end of the shooting process that I started realizing why the director had chosen them for the roles. Their
characters in real life more or less matched what they were playing on screen. Not only them but most of us have appeared more or less as our real selves on screen. The three heroines Ekta, Lizna and Pooja are from Bombay. Initially, the director wanted to cast Tamil girls in the lead. But, even after a lot of scouting, we were not able to find the right kind of person and so went to Mumbai. And, to their credit, I have to say that all three of them have done their job quite well.

About the duets in the film

You really cannot call them duets. They are very much part of the narration and are not dance sequences that jump at you out of nowhere. I have got songs with all three heroines.

Reprimands from the director?

You could say that not a single day has passed without getting a bit of stick from the director. But, he is not a person who scolds you a lot. He just keeps reminding of you what is required. More importantly, he does not push one a lot. He gives a lot of freedom at first to express oneself and then tells you about the corrections to be made in what has already been done. And, he is also quite good at encouraging the artistes if they do a good job. During the shooting, if any one of us delivered a very good shot he immediately used to grant us a ‘5 star’ rating. I think Ekta is the one to have got the most of them, I might come second. Magilzh Thirumeni is a book as far as I am concerned about acting. Even after completing a course in acting, I think one is really a bit raw, not a finished product. He taught me a lot about acting, especially things that he has learnt from his years of experience as an assistant director with people like Gautham Menon. It is really a boon for me to be selected as hero in his film. Also, for me to get a chance with a banner like Seventh Channel in my very first film is one of the greatest things to happen. I don’t think I could have asked for a bigger or better platform to start off my career. For newcomers like me, who do not have any godfathers within the industry, this is the best that can happen.

Any unforgettable experience?

They were quite a few of them I guess. Maybe the time we spent in London and Venice shooting for the songs. All of us cherished each and every moment in those places. They will count as unforgettable experiences.

Difficult shots?

Not many, mainly because I think the film demands very natural performance. The film in itself is a breezy romantic story and does not really require one to put in a huge amount of effort. We just had to be our own selves on screen. So, I don’t think there were any shots that really made me work very hard.

The heroine with whom working was easy for you!

Basically, I am a very shy person. So, initially I was just friends with the three of them. But, as the days went by all of us got close and shared a very good rapport. Out of the three, I think I was most comfortable with Ekta. That might be because the two of us were shooting abroad in London and Venice for two songs. That way, I have spent most number of days with Ekta and so feel more comfortable with her.

" I was most comfortable

with Ekta "

Your future projects?

There are a couple of them, but nothing is finalized as yet. I think they too will want to wait for the release of my first film before they decide upon me. So, I am hoping for the best, God’s grace.

About the music...

Ever since the audio of the film was released, I have been getting a lot of calls from many people saying that they find the songs really amazing. It certainly has been liked by everyone. This I think is Thaman’s first album to come out in Tamil after Eeram and I feel that Mundhinam Partheney will take him one step above. This is because, Eeram was a thriller, this is a breezy and romantic movie and music is the backbone of this venture. I think music to this movie is as important as the practical examinations in 12th standard. I would like to thank Thaman for giving such wonderful songs to Mundhinam Partheney.

Any moving shots!

Yes, quite a few. There were many instances in the film where I felt that I have come across such occasions in my real life. This may be because this is a very simple and natural love story, something that happens in everyone’s life. I cannot tell you where exactly I got these feelings because I would then be revealing too much about the film and the way it ends. But, there was one scene in the railway station where the heroine is leaving. The director told me that the feeling for this shot has to be expressed with depth in my eyes. The moment after I gave this shot I started crying uncontrollably. I just couldn’t control my emotions. Everyone on the set got really disturbed seeing me cry this way and wondered what went wrong. It took some time for me to calm down and get on with shooting.

Have you dubbed for the film?

No, the director wanted a base voice for the character. He felt that it would suit the character better. When he told me this, I accepted it immediately because I knew that whatever he felt would be the best for the film.

Your source of support

My family has been my biggest source of support. I have been trying to get into the film industry for around six years now and it wouldn’t have been possible to keep going without the support from my parents. Another big source of support has been my brother. He is also into cinema, an assistant director and so he knows what it takes to get into the field. He always kept telling me that if there was talent, there will definitely be a way. And, there are many examples of successful people in the industry who have broken rules and norms to become huge names, they have inspired me.

Why do you think Mundhinam Partheney should be watched?

I believe that the most important element in any film is the story and I feel that the director has done a very good job with the story and screenplay. The entire film has come out well and we believe that the audiences will like what they see. If there is any reason you should watch Mundhinam Partheney, it should be for the story.

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