Silverscreen goes to the Ramanujan press meet
Ramanujan needs no introduction. A brilliant and troubled mathematician from Kumbakonam, he died quite young; but not before giving the world something to think about. The movie, Ramanujan, delves deeper into his psyche, and tries to understand the man behind the genius. Director Gnana Rajasekaran, known for having directed the biopics Bharathi and Periyar, returns to filmmaking with this venture.
It was a family project of sorts for the Rajasekarans; for his daughters Sindhu, Nandita and wife Shakunthala were an intrinsic part of the movie. Sindhu produced the film along with husband Sushanth Desai, Srivatsan and Saranya Nadathur while Shakunthala Rajasekaran designed the period costumes for the flick. Speaking at the press meet of Ramanujan, the family insisted that personal relationships did not hinder the creative process. “All of us had our assigned roles and we took them quite seriously. The family connection was incidental and had no impact on the project,” said Sindhu. YG Mahendhra, who plays Ramanujan’s father in the movie, observed, “according to me, there are two kinds of movies – ones that should be made and the ones that can be made. If Ramanujan hadn’t been made, it would have been a great disgrace to our country.”
For Nizhalgal Ravi, the most difficult part of the film was the tonsuring. “The first thing they did was shave my head. But when I saw similar mottai boys on the sets, I felt better.” The heavy period costumes didn’t help either. “I was sweating heavily and using the bathroom was a Herculean task; as it involved two people helping me out of my costume. But, the work was great. Very great!”
Suhasini Maniratnam was all praise for the Rajasekaran family. “Veedu nalla irundha dhaan naadu nalla irukkum. Gnana Rajasekaran’s family is hardworking. They put their heart and soul into this project.” The actress describes her role in Ramanujan as her career best. “I came onboard as a consultant to help them with casting. During the process, Rajasekaran sir requested me to play Ramanujan’s mother. I have to say, this definitely is one of the best roles I have ever done in my life.
Director Gnana Rajasekaran was quite insistent that the media not label Ramanujan an “award movie”. “People in Tamil Nadu have this wrong impression about award movies. They think it will be a dry experience. In fact, people were surprised to learn that the movie had songs. I was repeatedly asked, ‘why does a movie about a mathematician need songs? What’s the point?'” The director also claimed that music composer Ramesh Vinayagam was more passionate about it than anybody else. “Ramesh was very involved in this project. He used to make note of every flaw and ask us to correct it. He did not confine himself to the music. And what beautiful work he’s done!”
There are two actors essaying the lead role in the movie – ten-year-old Chennai school kid, Anmol, plays the younger Ramanujan while debutant Abhinay Vaddi essays the older version. While both had a great experience on sets, they had vastly different opinions on Mathematics. Abhinay claimed that he was awesome at maths, but Anmol sheepishly admitted that he wasn’t ‘too fond’ of numbers. They did agree on something, though: that Ramanujan was a true blue Tamil hero.
Good to know:
1. Actor Abhinay is the grandson of ‘Kadhal Mannan’ Gemini Ganesan and actress Savithri.
2. He called everyone ‘aunty’ and ‘uncle’ because that was ‘how he felt about them’. Rekha aunty (blasphemy alert) wanted to star as his mother in the movie, but Suhasini aunty was already on board.
3. Actor Sarath Babu wanted everyone to know that Nizhalgal Ravi and YG Mahendran were much older than him.
4. Shakunthala Rajasekaran was not spared from her husband’s criticism on the sets. “I didn’t get any special treatment. Everybody here knows the difficulty I faced,” she quipped.