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Exclusive! You can't please people all the time: Anantham director Priya

Anantham, which was released last Friday, has been receiving positive feedback from fans and the film fraternity

  • S Subhakeerthana

Last Updated: 02.33 AM, Apr 25, 2022

Exclusive! You can't please people all the time: Anantham director Priya
Pic credit: Phanni

Chennai-based filmmaker Priya, who earlier directed Kanda Naal Mudhal and Kannamoochi Yenada, is confident about Anantham, her debut in the OTT space; streaming on Zee5. “I was born in Anantham. It has witnessed many of my emotions. I just thought, what would happen if several others lived there at different times. I wanted the audience to experience the warmth I felt for my characters during the scripting. It is a hyperlinked series, straight from my heart!"

Why did she not do many projects in Tamil, after the much-loved 2005 romcom, Kanda Naal Mudhal? "I bagged a couple of projects, but they got dropped midway. After that, it became difficult for me to approach people. My confidence went for a toss. I withdrew into a shell. Of course, I kept trying, but nothing quite materialised. Eventually, I started doing advertisements and promotional films. Then, I got Aadi Lakshmi Puraana (in Kannada)," says Priya, who trained under Mani Ratnam, and his wife Suhasini.

The filmmaker is grateful that her family and friends stood by her during those times. "I think it is okay. Sometimes, things don't happen, and you have to deal with them. Slowly, I resumed writing. In 2018, I met Murali Raman, and the whole idea got him excited. He put me on to Zee5. If not for his encouragement, I don't think Anantham would have happened."

Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Prakash Raj, Sampath Raj, Vivek Prasanna, Ananth Nag, Amrutha Srinivasan, Anjali Rao, and others, the eight-episode series (a 40-minute runtime for each episode) chronicles events from 1960 to 2015 in the same house. "When I had conceived Venkatesan's character, I knew it was going to be Prakash Raj. He's a versatile actor, and also my mentor in the film industry. He produced my first project, Kanda Naal Mudhal. He was confident that I could make a film in 2005. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. Even before I could tell him the whole story of Anantham, he agreed to come on board. Our association goes back a long way."

Priya says she's blessed to work with actors and technicians, who put in their extra effort to score 100 per cent. "We shot at Aachi house in T Nagar, for 50 days. It so happened that I worked with dependable actors and crew. Everything that you see on screen was a team effort—starting from the casting process to the execution. The story was mine, but Preetha Jayaraman, Reema Ravichander, and Rakav Mirdath helped me put Anantham together. Recognising people for their effort is important. Anantham is theirs as much as it is mine.”

What did Mani Ratnam tell about Anantham? No, I haven't shown the film to Mani sir, yet," Priya grins. After a pause, she adds, "He knows what my journey is. He remains honest in his approach to filmmaking. That's his biggest strength. You don't know what you will learn from Mani sir. He doesn't 'teach' you specific things. It is only when you venture out on your own that you realise the value of working with someone like him.”

Does Priya underplay her achievements? "I'm a simple person, and I like my anonymity. I love being home and doing things that make me happy. I talk a lot, but for now, I feel a little overwhelmed. I'm here to tell stories. As long as I tell good ones, I'm sure people will listen to them! Art is highly subjective. You can't please people all the time. What you put out is what you put out. It is your opinion, after all."

Is Kanda Naal Mudhal 2 on the cards? "Honestly, I don't know where to start, and how it will flow. Kanda Naal Mudhal worked, but I'm not sure if part two will be met with the same response. I don't think there's a scope for a sequel," Priya signs off.