Thanga Pathakkam is the first movie to inspired me, back when I was just a child. Anjathey is the one film of mine, everyone talks about. If you watch closely Anjathey’s structure is very similar to Thanga Pathakkam’s. I wrote the plot-line of Thanga Pathakkam after watching it for around ten-fifteen times. I saw a lot of conflicts in the protagonist’s want or need. There’s a situation in it where the father has to kill his own son. I was stunned to see such a scene back then. I look at Mahendran sir as India’s greatest scriptwriter. He turned Sivaji into a controlled actor in that film. The script made him act that way. Thanga Pathakkam was the main reason I started writing scripts.
The next Tamil film that influenced/inspired me when it comes to the writing, cinematography and even music is Thevar Magan. I would call Bharathan the greatest Indian director. He is a great artist and this film is a major artistic achievement. I consider it as one of the greatest scripts ever written in Indian cinema. Written by Kamal Hassan, one can call it a direct interpretation of the book The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell. Sakthivel’s character represents The Hero’s Journey. He makes an entry as he gets off a train, dancing for a song and at the end of the film he boards the train accepting the punishment after saving the village. I have never seen such a script in Indian Cinema. But people look at the business side of that film. I always look for that film for the protagonist’s journey and the story is etched into me.
Seven Samurai was the film that created wings in me and made me fly. I consider Akira Kurosawa to be a great Zen teacher. The film keeps appearing in my dreams. I have seen it a thousand times and I wish to see it two thousand times more. Often people tell me that they are struggling whenever I go outside. I then ask them to watch that movie. They ask, “Why are asking me to watch a film?”. I reply to them saying that, “the film is a good medicine, capable of removing all worries”. I consider it as a movie that gives deep psychological solace because it shows the possibility and the impossibility of human’s talent or achievement. I wish to consider Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai as the ninth wonder of the world. I want to keep enjoying that film.
Schindler’s List is another favourite. It was based on a real life character. The film is about the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, who saved the lives of more than nine hundred Jews during the Holocaust. I ask aspiring Tamil film makers to watch Seven Samurai and Schindler’s List to learn how to make a movie. Making a film like Schindler’s List is a great achievement. The reason he directed Schindler’s List was because of his failure to get an Oscar Award for his film Close encounters of The Third Kind. Steven Spielberg lost because of the film Gandhi. He initially got frustrated when Gandhi got an Oscar. But after watching the film, he thought it was one of the most noble films. He started making films to show the struggles faced by his country and his ancestors. Schindler’s List was made after that. It was a very different film from him as a director and a writer. I still look at that film as one of the classics.
The next film I love is A Man Escaped, directed by Robert Bresson. He teaches me a lot through his films. I respect him the most. It is a great film. It is also connected to the incidents that happened in Auschwitz.
These five films give light to my life and I am who I am because of them. I always dedicate all my so-called success to these five films.