He looks very believable like a man on a street, not any air-brushed greek-god. In a conversation laced in four languages, Murugadoss struggles to let out his feelings. He asks helplessly if I can come over to his office as he is new to Hyderabad. The man is absolutely unpretentious and when he talks you just have to listen.
About his meeting with Aamir Khan in Mumbai, the director says, "He called me for lunch and I spoke to him in bits of Hindi and English. He liked Gazini and suggested two or three changes. We will begin shooting in September or October and I told him that I will improve the script. I hinted that since Gazini was a hit in both the languages the title should remain as it is in Hindi too, he didn't seem to have a problem." But why only Gazini? He quips, "Gazini is just not a mohammedan king or the name of a place but it also signifies his attempting 18 times to win. The title is apt for the film."
The director says he feels so good watching the super stars inaugurating audios and attending the launch functions of the other stars. The competition here is so healthy. Back in Chennai it's not the same. He says, "On one side if Rajinikant and Kamal Hassan are good friends, their respective fans are sworn enemies. Even now every new hero has a rival. In their film you get to hear one hero him speak dialogues challenging the other in a very loud way and their fans freak out on them. Most of the young hero's and their fans are very immature. And about the heroines I think it's all media created. Before the heroine's life span on the screen was fifteen years now it's just around three years. There is a lot of insecurity and small statements are distorted and blown out of proportion."
Ask him to share some memorable moments in the making of Gazini, the soft spoken man is more than willing. "Suriya has been more of friend and we had a lot of discussions and many brain storming sessions. Once the actor got caught in a traffic jam and he wanted to be on time to the studio. He was two km away from us. When I got to know I asked if I could send a bike, he said no. Suriya just alighted and ran non stop and reached the studio in just fifteen minutes. Suriya showed he was very disciplined and was particular of reaching work on time." About Asin, any kind words for her too? Murugadoss grins and then guffaws. He says, "Asin is very talented and sincere. I just have a word for her, she is brilliant." Murugadoss reveals he has three more wonderful subjects ready to be made into a film but he wants to go at it one at a time.
While we talk, the clouds burst open and you prod him to comment something on it. He says, "I can never imagine making a film without rain. It enhances and elevates the mood of the scene. When there's a fight going on the rain in the background makes it look very intense. The rain makes the romance of the hero and the heroine look very real and passionate and you feel like sympathizing for the heroine who is pining for her lover in the rain. Recently we shot for 25 days at a stretch in the aluminum factory for Stalin. For the scene the entire building, trees and the vicinity need to look drenched. That means you got to spend on gallons of water but to my surprise every morning for the next few days till the scenes got over it poured like there's no tomorrow. It rained for two or three hours but our requirement was met. I can't explain the feeling."
The topic invariably has to land at Chiranjeevi. So how was it directing the megastar? "He's amazing, the change of expressions, his terrific timing in comedy and actually he gives you more than what you expect. He's a director's delight." When he is not shooting the director spends most of his times watching films and when he misses his family calls them over the phone. This year is going to be a great one for the director. Stalin will be released, he will be directing Aamir Khan for Gazini and the most important out of them all is...the stork is visiting the family soon. Murugadoss smiles and signs off, not before sharing a secret. This weekend he will be blessed with a child.
- Y Sunita Chowdhary
Uday Kiran (Hero)
T Gopichand (Hero)
Kalyan Ram Nandamuri (Hero)
Siva Kumar (Director)
Rasool Ellore (Cinematographer & Director)
SS Rajamouli (Director)
Sameer Reddy (Cinematographer)
Marthand K Venkatesh
Sayaji Shinde (Villain)