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From the master’s stable

Bharathi Raja’s mega serial ‘Thekkethi Ponnu’ will air on April 14



At work Bharathi Raja directing Napoleon and (right), a still from the serial

The man who brought us movies such as “Mudhal Mariadai”, “16 Vayathinile” and “Manvasanai” in the 1970s and 1980s returns to his cinematic roots — the villages of Tamil Nadu — for his first directorial venture on the small screen.

Bharathi Raja enters the arena of the mega serial with ‘Thekkethi Ponnu’ on Kalaignar TV The serial, which airs from April 14, will star a couple of Bharathi Raja ‘finds’, Napoleon and Ranjitha, in addition to Swarnamalaya, Chandrasekhar and K.S. Murugan.

“The small screen gives you a chance to say what you want to at length and without fear, unlike a movie where there’s more of a financial risk and pressure to produce a ‘hit’,” said the director at a recent press conference.

‘Thekkethi Ponnu’ tells the story of three families in three villages and the relationships and conflicts that have existed between them across three generations. Unlike most serials today that are filmed in an urban setting, this one has been shot in villages and towns in and around Madurai such as Theni, Kambam, Kumuli and Andipatti, and has used local people as actors in order to capture that authentic rural flavour that Bharathi Raja is famous for.

“While villages close to main highways have changed, if you go to the interior, people still live the way they did 50 years ago,” he commented.

The serial is also woman-centric and aims to make a statement about the power of the rural woman — that she might actually be on a more equal footing with men than the urban woman.

Written by Rathnakumar, and featuring dialogues by Kavingnar Thenmozhi, Sivaji and Rose Muhilan, ‘Thekkethi Ponnu’ boasts of a title track by none other than Illayaraja.

“I have tried to recreate the visual aesthetic and emotions of cinema on the small screen,” said Bharathi Raja. “I have put as much effort into this serial as into any movie I’ve made.”

As of now, about 300 episodes of the serial have been planned. It airs Monday through Friday at 8:30 p.m. on Kalaignar T.V.

DIVYA KUMAR

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