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OFF the beaten track

Karu. Palaniappan stole all attention with his refreshingly new approach in only his maiden film `Parthiban Kanavu'.


WHEN ACTION-PACKED movies were ruling the roost in Tamil filmdom, one film came like a whiff of fresh air. It was `Parthiban Kanavu', a director's maiden effort, which actually never looked like one.

Debutant director, Karu. Palaniappan, stole all attention with his refreshingly new approach. It was as if he felt the pulse of the people and delivered just what they were looking for. "You should not do what the audience would expect. Hence I was conscious when I made that movie. Right from the start to the end I never allowed the audience to anticipate what would happen next," he shares the secret of his success.

"People quite often mistake trend with momentary success. Bharathiraja could be considered a trendsetter for he shifted the attention from urban to rural background. Or for that matter, Aapavanan parading 25 to 30 cars on the screen in the movie `Oomai Vizhigal' — a technique followed even today in several recent movies. The story may not be new but the narration has to be. I differentiate my story from the earlier ones only through narration and dialogue. Before `Parthiban Kanavu', I had so many people to compete with but after the success of the movie I am left with only one competitor in the field, who is none other than myself," the plain-speaking director smiles.

The movie was a family drama with a lot of interesting knots. "I had four stories with me when I approached the Sathya Jothi Films. I had a sketchy storyline but had a strong knot and just explained it. It took just 20 minutes for my producer to give a green signal for the movie," he recalls.

It was Palaniappan's conscious decision to break away from the formula films wherein the dual roles generally would be blood-related. "We would have heard people say there would be seven `look-alike' persons (definitely not blood-related) in this world. If this is true then why not two of them in my movie was the logic behind my creation. I was very careful in differentiating the two characters in terms of their voice, dress and general lifestyle. The audience at no point of time got confused between the characters except in the climax."

He is not shy of describing himself as down-to-earth and thoroughly producer-friendly: "A producer invests in a movie and expects good returns. We cannot experiment with other's money. Hence, I want to make film in a presentable manner."

Though cinema was not his priority till he finished his undergraduate studies in the American College, he opted for this industry during his postgraduate days.

"Of course, like many others I too had some interest in films. But when the final moment came to choose a career I wanted to get into a field, which I know better. Hence I opted for it," he humbly admits.

"My film entry was neither an accident nor a brooded over decision," he asserts.

On his next film `Sathurangam', he says: "Every individual has a move in his mind, it may be in his or her speech or action. He faces a problem only when his move is countered. This is the base of the film. The hero is countered on so many occasions by the heroine and how the protagonist tackles the problem is the story. That is why I have titled the film as `Sathurangam' (the game of chess).

The success of `Parthiban Kanavu' has undoubtedly worked as a morale-booster for this young director. He, however, rates Rudraiah's `Aval Appadithan' as one of the best movies, he has seen, for it has transcended time.

T.SARAVANAN

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