The Mask Of A Ruthless Filmmaker | Director Bala

Wearing masks is an innate part of human nature, often utilized to conceal our true selves. Director Bala, renowned for his films like Sethu, Pithamagan, Nandha, Naan Kadavul, Paradesi, and Tharai Thappattai, has been predominantly cast in the mask of a relentless and somewhat eccentric filmmaker. However, a brief moment during the shoot of Tharai Thappattai provided a glimpse behind this facade.

The Intriguing Paradesi Trailer: A Deceptive Facade

Paradesi’s trailer left an indelible mark, portraying Bala as a taskmaster, further solidifying the impression of a stern and intense director. Numerous anecdotes and write-ups have contributed to the perception of Bala as a blend of Pithamagan’s Vikram and Naan Kadavul’s Arya – a portrayal that serves as a deceptive mask.

A Transformative Encounter: Tharai Thappattai Song Shoot

During the month-long shoot of a song in Thanjavur, where Sasikumar and his team danced in front of a dead body, our daily routine included having breakfast in a cemetery. Amidst the backdrop of burning bodies and festive celebrations, a day revealed a different side of Bala.

The Unveiling of Empathy: Bala’s Mask Slips

Lost in contemplation, Bala’s gaze was fixed on an elderly man playing the role of the deceased. That night, during our discussion, Bala opened up about the old man’s plight. His empathy surfaced, and he expressed concern for the elderly actor, who earned a meager income by playing dead bodies regularly. Bala decided to change this narrative.

Angels Behind the Mask: Empathy in Action

On the last day of the song shoot, Bala ensured that the elderly actor received a substantial payment, a gesture that far surpassed any compensation he had received throughout his career. In that moment, the mask of ruthlessness vanished, revealing the compassionate side of Bala – an angel behind the perceived facade.

The Lesson: Empathy Beyond the Mask

This incident serves as a powerful reminder that even individuals projected as ruthless or intense wear masks to cover their empathetic hearts. Bala, much like everyone, carries both light and shadow within, proving that angels, too, wear masks.

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About the Author

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

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