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The Mask Of A Ruthless Filmmaker

We all wear masks whether we like it or not, mostly not to disclose the real side of us, and mostly that real side is better hidden for reasons of its own. But how would you react when a person’s mask slips for a brief moment and you get a glimpse of an angel behind that mask while all along that mask was projecting him as a ruthless film maker and all his movies fetched him an image of a psycho film maker.

Yes… I am talking about Director Bala, director of movies like Sedhu, Pithamagan, Nanda, Naan Kadavul, Paradesi and Tharai Thappattai. Paradesi trailer cannot be easily forgotten for that sheer fact that it portrayed Bala as a task master.

And for many hearsay incidents to write ups everyone has the strong impression of Bala as a mixture of Pithamagan Vikram and Naan Kadavul Arya. That’s a mask. A real fake mask.

It was Thaarai Thappatai song shoot which was shot for more than a month in Thanjavur. It’s the song where Sasikumar and his troop dance in front of a dead body.

It became a daily ritual for us to have our breakfast in a cemetery where dead bodies were burning nearby and continue our shoot in midst of flowers thrown, crackers blasted all the way the dead body was carried around.

It was one of those days of this shoot, I saw Bala sir lost in thoughts his look fixed at the old man who was acting as the dead body. As I expected, that night when we were discussing about the next day shoot, Bala sir opened up.

“Yean John… vayasaana manushan, daily oru maasaama pina oorvala vandila maalaya pottutu paduthu irukkaaru, avaru mindla enna odum? Uyiroda irukkumbodhey avaruku maranatha kaatrom. Avar irandha appuram eppadi kondu povaangannu rehearsal kodukirom… ninachu paarthaley paavama irukku. Avar shooting mudinju pogum bodhu avar manasu sandhosha padura maadhiri edhavadhu panni anupanum”

That very moment his mask vanished.

And he did what he told… on the last day of the song shoot, the old actor got a huge pay which I don’t think he would have got in his entire career.

We do need mask to cover our empathies.

Yes, Angels do wear masks.

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true”]’The Mask Of A Ruthless Filmmaker’ – John Mahendran @johnroshan writes about Director Bala [/tweetthis]

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About the Author

John Mahendran
Film Director, Writer, Author, Currently teaching Film Making in BOFTA

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