I’m a Tamilian born and brought up in Bihar, I am not a movie buff, of the countable movies I have watched, most of them have been from Bollywood or Hollywood, And I was just a year old when you were making Nayakan. Yes by all measures and respects i’m the last person to be writing this article in reply to yours, but… but i’m a fan of yours, of Mani Ratnam sir’s, of Illayaraja sir’s and probably that is the only factor that might bring a remote relevance to my point of view here.
I am not sure if I am sharing the views of a lot of other fans of yours, who having seen Nayakan, were just as impressed and moved by the story, the direction and by your performance in it, as I was. I still get goose bumps recalling the scene where the character cries seeing his son’s dead body. And Thenpandi Cheemayile is probably one song that no tamilian in the current or one generation up, will forget or wouldn’t have heard. These sure are few of the bigger points of the whole movie and will not paint a complete picture of how great the movie was.
I was excited when I saw your photo on The Hindu and the headline read “Of Course Velu Nayakan doesn’t dance” , and read it up right away while in the midst of a preparation for my test the next day. And by the end of it I was smiling. A few days later one of my friends messaged me on Facebook providing me the link to Mr.Srinivasan’s reply to your article and after reading that I sort of let out a sigh. I had lost a little respect for both you and Mr.Srinivasan, and the movie Nayakan. I don’t like the movie anymore as much as I did.
You might wonder why should I as a fan feel that, when all you did was narrate a few anecdotes along with a few hurdles which came your way and the other’s way and how you overcame it and how true a ‘method actor’, you are, true to Stanislavski’s picture of one. But somewhere you and Mr.Srinivasan both forgot that the audience loves a movie by what it sees on the screen, and the stories that remain behind the screen should remain for the actors only. Like Sachin Tendulkar says “What happens in the dressing room should stay there.”
I am surprised at your stating the fact that you had a producer who was tight-fisted, and that there was no budget for make up and costume and that you had to take care of it all so early into the article. And to see that desperate attempt to glorify your self at the expense of the others is a little betraying for a fan. For a fact, you already are a demi-god in Tamil cinema for the talents you possess, actor, singer, dancer, producer, director, etc. You enjoy more respect that most accomplished actors in Indian Cinema among the Film fraternity, and Nayakan, the movie has spoken all these years and still speaks for what a brilliant movie it was. Don’t you think your heart would’ve beamed with greater pride had you heard from someone else in the crew saying “Kamal did his and others’ make-up and helped in the costume”? Or that “Kamal was such a strict follower of the Stanislavski’s style of method-acting, that he would’t go into the shoot until he had the ittar for the role he was playing”? I think you would’ve. I’m not sure we all would like Sachin as much if he came out and spoke about the cramps, tennis elbow pains and many other hurdles he faced on his way to that double century. He would be less of a hero.
As for Mr.Srinivasan, Sir you really didn’t have to respond to the allegations by Mr.Kamal through the article “Living in past glory“. People who knew about the movie and the stories behind the scenes, knew enough to judge what part of the original article was right and what wasn’t. Hence it certainly didn’t look good to see you respond in the same taste as of the first article. To see two stalwarts of Indian cinema take on each other on a turf such as the print media, is a little sad.
When I first read the headline of the article and the first paragraph, I beamed with pride that here was one movie which was made back in those days and had the substance to last quarter of a century and earn a place in the all-time-greats. And I was looking forward to reading ‘happy’ anecdotes and incidents from behind the scenes. But somehow the very parents of the ‘baby’ don’t seem to want to talk happy things on the 25th birthday.
I now quietly wish I hadn’t read the article because like Michaelangelo said “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.“. I guess Nayakan doesn’t seem as wonderful anymore.
A mere fan of Nayakan