Director Ram on capturing the battle of the sexes!
BY RINKU GUPTA
His films like Katradhu Tamil and Thanga Meengal have stood out from the crowd for their different themes. Now, DIRECTOR RAM is back with a film quite different from his previous ones. In TARAMANI, he deals with man-woman relationships in the contemporary set up of the IT world. His recent teaser with leads Andrea and newbie Vasanth Ravi has already been trending and led to a debate on love in today’s times. In a chat with Ram, we discover why he chose this topic and how the ongoing debate has left him thrilled.
The teaser clearly shows that Taramani is about the nebulous quality of New Age man-woman relationships and their equations in modern Indian society. What inspired him to choose this topic? “Taramani is about the male-female relationships in the global era. I have been seeing a lot of divorces amongst my friends. The concept of love has undergone a radical change. Love starts at a very young age, from 16 itself nowadays. Every experience is happening very fast and thanks to the social media and technology, the various phases of a love are crossed at great speed. So much so, the surprise, wonder and beauty of love as we know it, has been lost. Twenty years ago, love was a slow, smooth and lingering process. Today, love has become like fast food. There are so many choices, so easy to find, resulting in lots of complications. Men feel they have lots of options and can have several girlfriends thanks to the convenience and anonymity of technology. But they have always been possessive and continue to remain so. Women however, have changed. They are now more in control of their bodies, lives and destinies. They are beautiful and strong with high self-esteem. In such a scenario if a man and woman fall in love, will the man be able to handle the changed woman of today? That’s the idea I’ve explored in Taramani.”
Ram discloses that he is greatly influenced by world cinema. Films like Eyes Wide Shut (1999 erotic drama based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 novella Traumnovella), Knife In The Water ( 1962, Thriller –Drama directed by Roman Polanski) and In The Mood For Love (2000 Chinese, directed by Wong Kar Wai) have left deep impact. Even Tamil films like Aval Appadithaan and Marapadiyum have influenced him. And this overlap of the international and domestic seems to reflect in the choice of Taramani as location and title too. Ram agrees, “Till recently, the age old city of Chennai had a South Chennai and a North Chennai. But now there is a New Chennai with an international confluence, at Taramani, just outside the city. It’s a major global hub with cross currents of modern influences, which reflect in choices of life and love amongst men and women. I’ve tried to capture the truth according to my own knowledge and what I witnessed. I feel that relationships are the same but different places and lifestyles add new dimensions to them, which maybe both positive and negative. That’s what I have tried to portray.”
Heroine Andrea Jeremiah’s bold and quirky portrayal in the teaser has added to the zing of the story. Ram feels that she was the apt choice for the role because of various factors. “I needed an Anglo Indian girl who was fluent in Tamil and Andrea fitted the bill. Like my heroine, Andrea too is a modern, independent woman with high self-esteem. So she fitted perfectly into the role. In fact, she has not used any make up in the film.”
The shooting of the film is over and the dubbing is going on. Yuvan Shankar Raja is composiing the music while Theni Eswar is handling the camera. Sreekar Prasad edits. Ram is very upbeat about the fact that his teaser set off debates on the Internet and was even trending for a while, “Lots of people were shocked to see a film like this from me, so different from my previous ones. Some people told me, ‘no man is like what you have shown’. Lots of others loved it. If the teaser itself has set off a debate, I’m waiting eagerly for the film’s release to see public reaction!” Ram chuckles as he concludes, “Do you know, I don’t use Twitter, Facebook nor Whats App, yet I’ve made a movie on modern people steeped in technology! That’s the irony of it.”