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    “For Me My Film Is Important,” says S Ramanathan

    Thursday, September 14, 2006
    Sirji, as S.Raamanathan has been known in the film industry in Mumbai as well as South, is a prolific and successful director. He has directed films in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi as well. He has been directiong films since the last 46 years! S.Raamanathan started out in films with AVM''''s ‘Main Chup Rahungi’ in which he was the Associate Director of A. Bhimsingh. He has worked with Hindi films’ top stars like Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Mehmood, Sanjeev Kumar, Nimmi, Nutan, Waheeda Rehman, Meena Kumari, Mala Sinha, Shabana Azmi, Sridevi, Madhavi, Rishi Kapoor, Govinda to today''''s star of the millennium-Amitabh Bachchan. In South, he has worked almost all the top stars like Shivaji Ganesan, MGR, Dr.Rajkumar, N.T.Ramarao, Jai Shankar, Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth.

    Though S.Raamanathan has largely made the commercial kind of films, he successfully made two award-winning films, incidentally both of them in Kannada. One was Gejje Pooje, which was the first-ever Kannada film to have won the National award. The other one was Upasane which won as many as six awards from Kannada state government. And both of these Kannada films were big hits at the box-office, too.

    Sir-ji who has been close to Amitabh Bachchan since the last 35 years, has directed AB in five films – ‘Bombay To Goa’, ‘Mahaan’, ‘Geraftaar’, ‘Ganga Jamuna Saraswathi’ and the forthcoming ‘Zamanat’. In between he designed two projects starring Amitabh Bachchan - ‘Inquilab’ and ‘Sooryavansham’. Over to an IndiaGlitz Exclusive with the veteran Director:

    Something about ‘Zamaanat’ which is finally going to release after all these years

    ‘Zamanat’ tells two love stories which are inter-connected through ingenious screenplay written by Prayag Raaj and M.D.Sunder. One track is about Amitabh Bachchan an intelligent lawyer and about Vijayashanti. On the other hand, it deals with Karishma and Arshad Warsi, who are college-mates. Amitabh who is considered the top criminal lawyer loses his eyesight one day in a clash with the criminals and chooses to live a life as a recluse. His only friend is an eye surgeon Anupam Kher. On the other hand, Arshad is implicated in a charge of murder. All evidences go against Arshad. The case becomes hopeless. Karishma therefore pleads with Amitabh Bachchan to defend Arshad. But the lawyer refuses to take up the case since he had given up his practice. But after much pleading, AB does take up the case and after a through probe he does take up the case and that brings about a number of startling revelations. The film is richly mounted and has a lot of twist and interesting turns. Plus, it has very good songs tuned by Viju Shah.

    You have had a long innings in the South and Hindi film industries, but you have always kept a low profile. We have never read your interview in any paper or magazine. Why so?

    For me my film is more important than my personal achievement. And whatever, I have been able to do is by the grace of god. It is he who has made me survive in this industry for so long. I have just worked on film scripts and made films. I have not known any other enterprise but films. Maybe God wanted me to be like this. Film making is everything for me- my source of livelyhood, my dream, my passion, my religion....

    How did you get your first break as a director?

    I was working for AVM studious in Madras and was incharge of everything. At that time A. Bhimsingh was to direct AVM’s “Main Chup Rahungi”. This was in 1960. A.Bhimsingh, who knew my working style, asked AVM production to allow me to work with Bhimsingh as the film’s associate director. Since then I had always been an associate director. I was always given a separate card in the credit titles. I have mostly worked with Bhimsingh as his associate director.

    When did you start directing Hindi films ? And how did you get the break?

    Actually, N.N.Sippy was the first producer who approached with the offer of directing ‘Bombay To Goa’ for him. Before that I was busy as associate director for Mehmood’s ‘Sadhu Aur Shaitan’. Thereafter, Mehmood seeing my work for his film, wanted me to direct a film for him. Days passed by and Mehmood once again asked me if I was ready to direct a film for him. I said that I was committed to direct a film for N.N.Sippy since I had not heard from him all this days. Mehmood-Bhai immediately called me to Bombay. Thereafter N.N.Sippy and Mehmood-N.C.Sippy had a tri-partite agreement following which I directed ‘Bombay To Goa’ for N.C.Sippy and Mehmood’s joint banner. For N.N.Sippy, I later directed ‘Devata’ starring Sanjeev Kumar, Shabana Azmi and Danny.

    You have been known as Sirji in the industry. How did you earn this sobriquet?

    Well, it was during the making of ‘Mahaan’ that Amitji started calling me Sirji. From then on, I came to be known as Sirji.

    You seem to share a close rapport with Amitabh Bachchan…

    Well, I do consider myself lucky for being close to top stars. Amitabh has himself said in print and at a press conference that he and I are ‘such dukh ke sathi’ since the last 35years. We do have an emotional bond between us.

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