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    Interview with director of Vishwa Thulasi - Sumathy Ram

    Tuesday, September 28, 2004
    A test for my creativity, says Sumathi Ram

    A blissful housewife blessed with two daughters, life could not have been better for Sumathi. But her passion for Tamil poems has pitch forked her into a different world. Little wonder that the transition has given a new meaning to her life.

    ‘An unforgettable journey and a dream come true’ was how Sumathi put it, having taken the mantle of story, screenplay, dialogues and direction of the Tamil period film produced by her husband Ram.
    In every sense, it was her baby - the feelings experienced by a mother after the arrival of the bundle of joy. The US-based NRI is still dazed by the happening, finding characters walk around her. It was a test of her creativity recreating the dream and translating the vision into the screen.
    The moment her script was ready, Sumathi had only one actress in her vision as Thulasi. With the prized catch of Nandita Das, it did not take long for her to find Vishwa - it had to be the one and only Mammooty. Initially hesitant to do a Tamil film, with very few dialogues and loads of songs, Mammooty, however, gave the nod impressed by the storyline and the conviction with which Sumathy narrated the whole thing.
    ‘His saleability factor in Tamil films was playing in his mind. Once the nuance of the character registered, Mammooty slipped into that with characteristic ease and poise. Every frame of the lead artistes was a visual delight, a telling commentary on their efforts.’ With the two prized possessions, it was time for Sumathy to swing into action. As Prakash Raj could not squeeze in the dates, Manoj K Jayan was roped in to play an important supportive character. Musicians M S.Viswanathan and Ilayaraja joining hands after 15 years was the other happening thing.
    With the post-production work complete and the film due for release, Sumathi rewinded the days when how it all started. Her expertise in lyrics motivated her to do a musical album with MSV on one of her visits to Chennai. Her only request was that the songs be rendered by the ones who had not been associated with the maestro. Sung by the likes of Hariharan, Shankar Mahadevan, Shrinivas, Sujatha, Harini and Bombay Jaishree, the track was ready.
    The title ‘Vishwa Ragam’ was already in her mind when she asked herself - why not make the package into a film. Once that idea germinated, there was no looking back - her husband and pillar of strength working out the modalities to set the ball rolling. The rest, as they say is history, things falling in place as if it was programmed that way.
    ‘Sundarapuri’ is the village where all her dreams is conceived into reality. Much of the story happens in ’62 but there is a flashback transporting the viewers to the days of ’42.
    ‘It is a poignant love story involving two special characters. Tried to handle it in the most sensitive way’. Striving for perfection - the meticulous script and meaningful dialogues helping her in a big way - Sumathy could improvise, not restricting to any parameters. ‘Never got an impression of directing two senior-most artistes. All I could see was Vishwa and Thulasi doing their job.’
    Behind every successful woman there is a man may well be the new saying. Ram’s support was more than the monetary part of it.

    A journey they undertook together has all the promise of a fare, rich in content.

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