Tamil Features

5 Movies That Inspired Ganesh Venkatraman

Movies are not conceived in isolation. Every aspiring director in Tamil cinema today will harbour memories of watching a Nayagan or a 16 Vayadhiniley on screen; every young actor will speak of how Kamal Haasan and Sivaji Ganesan inspired them; and every aspiring music director will have a favourite Ilaiyaraaja song. Each week, Silverscreen talks to a different celebrity to find the sparks that triggered their creativity – the films, the music, the writing, the photographs and the locations.




Stars usually take about five minutes during the interview to think of films that stayed with them. But Ganesh Venkatraman had no room for thoughts. “If I begin to think, it would be hard for me to choose. I would be more confused, and end up talking about 20 films,” he laughed.

But here are those movies that actually had him thinking:

1. Bombay

“I was living in Mumbai when the Bombay riots took place. My place was close to Andheri, where riots were severe. I was about 10 and I clearly remember what a terrifying nightmare it was. It left an indelible mark on my mind. One year after that, Mani Ratnam’s Bombay released, and I was in awe to see how accurately the riot was portrayed in the film. Even as a boy, I could understand how one’s life would be torn because of the riots, and I saw that in Bombay. Besides relating to the film based on my personal experience, I love the music and cinematography, too. Not a lot of films explored the life of a common man stuck in chaos and crisis. It was dealt with commendably in Bombay.

2. Rocky

Like every other teenager, I was immensely motivated when I watched Rocky the first time. But the movie became more important to me after I became an actor, and especially after I read about all the hurdles that Sylvester Stallone overcame to begin the series. Having been in the industry for a while, I understand how difficult it is to produce a film. There is a hurdle to cross at every turn. These days, producers go through a lot of hardship to release their films. That way, Sylvester Stallone’s life is a great inspiration.

3. Sholay

I have lost count of how many times I have watched this film. One doesn’t need too many reasons to love Sholay. It is a classic. The stars had a great on-screen camaraderie. They complemented each other’s performance so well. The film has numerous native elements, and it’s still got an international appeal. That’s something unique about it.


4. Life is Beautiful

It is one of the most poignant, moving films I have ever watched. What writing! Nazi concentration camp makes you understand the value of life. The movie really changes our perception about things that matter to us. And, it also reminds us that bad times would pass, if only we choose to work on our outlook and be positive.

5. 3 Idiots

Almost every other movie of Rajkumar Hirani is uplifting. His movies are not looked at as just Hindi films anymore. I think they have universal appeal. Although I love all of his films, 3 Idiots is a personal favourite, because it handles a complex subject, simplifies it, and drives the point home to audiences of all centers.”