Siddharth Chandrasekhar
Interviewer : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar & Inian | Camera : P.Ganesh Babu & Hamananth | Text : Jyothsna Bhavanishankar
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Bale Pandiya is ready to hit the marquee soon and its young director Siddharth Chandrashekhar is an excited man. Commencing his career in the ad world, he has been involved in publicity work for many prestigious films. Bale Pandiya is Siddharth’s maiden outing as a director and he is extremely satisfied with the way the film has shaped up. Senior Editor Jyothsna Bhavanishankar caught up with him in this freewheeling chat in his aesthetically done office in T Nagar.
Tell us something about your entry into filmdom

I have been in the advertising for the past 15 years. My company Mithra Media is in the field for the past 12 years. We are into advertising and design. Ten years back we got into doing movie publicity. So that can be described as my entry into films. Once I was getting to know the film industry, I wanted to do something beyond design. While I was looking at different career options, I felt direction is something that sums up everything. So that’s how I have landed in what I’m doing right now.

You do not have any filmi background. How did you get interested in it?

I have been associated and working in the industry for the past 10 years and I have been involved in major films in its publicity right from the concept stage. I was involved with Ghajini from the beginning when Suriya was signed. Similarly I have been with Karthi in Paruthi Veeran. I understand the evolution of a film and also the process but did not have a practical knowledge. It has only been theory. I have not been involved 100% in everything but have seen through it. I had the idea but application wise Bale Pandiya is the film where I have gone from A to Z in film making process. It has been a nice, humbling and learning experience and at the same time extremely satisfying too. I have finished a film and at the same time have learnt a lot through this journey.

What is Bale Pandiya (BP) all about?

Bale Pandiya would be a wholesome entertainer. It is not for any particular group and it is for everyone. The characters are highly relatable and the events would have occurred in everybody’s life. BP is about how the characters interpret the events that are happening around them and the ensuing decision. It is a fun film to watch.

Bale Pandiya would be a

wholesome entertainer

Is there a link with the old Bale Pandiya?

There is a small one line link but it has got nothing to do with the original story.

What according to you is the USP of Bale Pandiya?

It is a refreshingly new film. It has a refreshing new music, visuals and a refreshing manner of story telling.

About the cast?

Vishnu is the hero who had featured in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu. In VKK, Vishnu was one of the characters and he did not have any major heroic activities (like stunts) in the film but in BP, he is a full fledged hero. He has danced, fought and has done comedy and BP is a well packaged film for a hero. Pia is the heroine who has done a cheerful, bubbly happy-go-lucky kind of a character. Vivek is there in the film and I have introduced many new faces. Gibran, the SS music VJ is doing a role in BP. Amarendran, a new artist has played an important role in the first half of the film. There are a lot of new faces and there is a new look to the film.

Music director Devan Ekambaram

I know Devan for the past 10 years and he has been my good friend. He was into his music and I was into my design and our work did not clash. When I was toying with the idea of whom to approach for music direction, I asked for a suggestion from Devan. He immediately said - won’t I do it? So it was Devan who suggested himself for the film and that’s how he became the music director of BP.

About cinematographer?

This film has two cinematographers - one is Soundar and the other is Gurudev and both of them come from P C Sreeram’s disciples, K V Anand and Jeeva. Soundar has worked with K V Anand and Gurudev has apprenticed under Jeeva. I am happy that both my cinematographers have an impressive pedigree and they have done a great job.

Where did you shoot the film?

Pondycherry, Chennai and Puket.

Producer’s contribution?

BP is produced by Kalpathi Agoram brothers. Their approach to production is very unique and they don’t look at it as just putting in money. It is beyond that. It is to create a winning project and to make an entertaining project. They basically love the industry and they watch films, give feedback, they appreciate good work, listen to music. There has been an active collaboration from the production side, active participation from the producer which helps director like me to enhance and embellish the product.

What are your future projects?

Right now, I have not thought about anything. I try to live the present. I am currently involved in finishing BP and getting into theatres.

Shankar sir has been the major

influence for me in film making

Who is your inspiration?

In the film industry, there are many inspirations for me - Jeeva, Shankar, S P Jananadan, cameraman Ekambaram who is very close to me, Pushkar - Gayathri, Murugadoss, Lingusamy and many more. There is so much to learn from everyone. I am Ekalavya and I have many Dronas. I have many teachers as I have worked with many of them and have learnt many things from them. Shankar sir has been the major influence for me in film making. I have been working with him in many of this films and I have learnt quite a deal from him.

What genre of films you like to make?

Personally I don’t like to stick to any specific genre and I watch all kinds of films. It basically depends on the idea that you stumble upon. It is like asking a sculptor with what material he sculpts his works. It could be marble, sandstone or granite depending on the availability. Currently I have got this idea and have worked on it; later it may be something else. I am not sure if the film should be based on a particular genre. Perhaps my next film would be a thriller. However horror is not my cup of tea, so I may try a romantic comedy or an action comedy. I don’t know. I’m just waiting for it to happen.

horror is not my cup of tea

How did you zero in on Vishnu and Piaa?

I decided on Piaa when I saw Poi Solla Porom. My PRO Nikil put me on to Vishnu because I had not seen Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu then. Nikil felt that Vishnu would be an ideal choice for the character in Bale Pandiya. Nikil and I met Vishnu and I knew Vishnu would fit the role. He also agreed to do the role and that’s how Vishnu is part of Bale Pandiya.

One needs a lot of patience to

make a film like Angadi Theru

What are the films that you saw recently?

I saw Angadi Theru and fell in love with it instantly. There is a huge difference to see the film as a viewer and as a film maker. One needs a lot of patience to make a film like Angadi Theru. The unit must have really toiled hard for the film. It is extremely difficult to bring out such liveliness. As a film maker, I understand the pain and the efforts that went into the making. The casting is brilliant and was spot on. On the whole, the film is fantastic.

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