‘Anything which comes from your heart will be a winner. Film is my life and I have breathed with it all through. It is my world and I am out there to bring happiness in the world of my tried, trusted and committed fans.’
With that added tag of Vijaya as a prefix, TR, as he is fondly known, has held his own, unfazed by the competition all around. Does that confidence border on arrogance? Is the patronage he enjoys among women the secret behind his success, going by the industry norm that half the battle is won when you have the womenfolk by your side.
‘My confidence is mistakenly interpreted as arrogance, TR opened out, combing his hair, sending out the signals that he has warmed up for a long chat. He rewinded the time when people in the industry mocked at him on hearing the story line of Oru Thalai Ragam which looked out of sorts in a different era.‘Bringing out the real meaning of love while retaining
the purity was my victory. The girl is so sensitive to express her feelings till the end. It was a theme unheard of then. I had the gut feeling that the message will reach the audience, if sugar-coated with the right ingredients.’
Does he draw parallel when films with similar themes struck a chord with the viewers now? ‘Each individual has a way of spelling out his ideas. It could just be that I was ahead of my time. Films are meant to be the strong undercurrent of messages. Anything told distinctly with the right package of commercial ingredients is sure to be accepted by audience.’
How does he justify so much of grandeur, throwing realism to the backburner. Is it not a fact that the rhyming of dialogues - a must in all his films - coming at every turn is targeted at one section of the audience.
‘Grandeur is the visual delight seen right from the days of Chandralekha. T R Ramanna gave it a delightful color showering the rupee notes in the Pon magal vandal number. It may sound as an escape from realism but is an accepted norm in film-making. Transport the viewers to a different plane, momentarily though.’ For something to be registered in the mind, rhyming is the best way, TR said. ‘Thiruvalluvar’s verses are a classic example. Each one is stamped in our memory for
the essence was not lost when it was rhymed. It’s like ‘Twinkle twinkle little stars ...? when the child is made to understand in the simplest way. I think life is an extension where you are expected to narrate things in a mature way.’
Women get special respect in all his films - is it a deliberate ploy to win them over to rake in the moolah?
‘Women are close to God - it is they who give birth and know the pangs of sufferings. They need to be respected and adored. As a producer the onus is on me to send in the right messages.’ Films like Uyirullavarai Usha, En Thangai Kalyani and
Thangaikoru Geetham were themes where he could bring in the sublime love in woman-oriented subjects. The first one was a special, wrapped in a package as a gift to his better half and his pillar of strength _ you-know-who.
Of late, there has been a tendency to extend a warm hand to heroines from the North. He too has not been an exception, having introduced a bagful - the list is long from Amala to Meghna Naidu.
‘Talent has to be tapped wherever it be. It is a victory for me when my heroines speak in Tamil, post-debut blues. Quality will emerge only out of quantity. Talents from South have made waves in the North. It is only fair that we extend the same hospitality.’
How will he sum it up, now that he has directed 23 films having produced a dozen more. What has kept him going?
‘It is my self-belief which has taken me this far. You name it and I have done. When Enga Veetu Velan raked in crores, I could have made a pile with similar themes. But each one of my offering has to be different. I strive for perfection in that distinct style of my own. It is that much difficult to defend the hard-earned reputation.’
What of his latest venture - Veerasamy.
‘What else do you expect? It will be a pot-boiler with all the commercial ingredients. When you introduce new faces, you bring in the freshness along with them. Ideas too come with refreshing freedom when one is not confined to a set mind pattern.’
If today, he is better known as the father of Simbu, it is a proud moment for the whole family.
Indeed a special man, for all seasons and for the right reasons.