Editor’s Note: India celebrates Engineers’ Day today. Last year, Silverscreen spoke to a few engineers who went off the beaten path to join the Tamil cinema industry. Here’s a look back at their fascinating stories.
More and more Indians are leaving behind their Engineering degrees to pursue their passion. With engineering colleges mushrooming on every street corner in big and medium-sized cities – many small towns of South India are sporting sport a college each, too – the engineering degree is not as coveted as it used it be a couple of decades ago. With regressive campus cultures (no talking to the opposite sex!), lackluster academic practices (enough with the substandard guide books already!), and a single-track approach to life (“what’s your ‘package’?”), any student with an open mind and a need to understand the world, finds these courses stifling.
While silicon is fast losing its sheen to overkill, the world of cinema continues to be as glamorous and glittery as ever. It is drawing talented young people like a lamp does brightly-coloured moths.
Tamil cinema offers a world of possibilities to former engineering graduates as they explore their potential as directors, actors, actresses, music directors and even producers. In the run-up to the Engineers’ Day on 15 September, we ask four prominent members of the Tamil cinema industry about their ‘engineering’ experience.
Alma Mater: Saranathan College of Engineering, Tiruchirapalli
When did you first realize engineering wasn’t for you?
Never realized it. Probably would have had a career there, if not for 5 Star
How many arrears? Come on, don’t be shy.
Arrears? I don’t understand what that word means
Are your art directors better at drawing than your engineering drawing professor?
I am better than either of them
BL Theraja and AM Jain, do you still have nightmares about them?
(laughs) No, no. I dream about them often. I always wondered how they’d look..I think by now they’d have white beards and all that!
If you could make a movie about your college, what would the premise be?
Oh, I’m sure even if I set about making a movie about it, it wouldn’t quite capture the experience
How many times were you reprimanded for speaking to a member of the opposite sex?
Did you perform during college culturals? Best performance?
Yes. Atleast I tried to. I was very gangly back then, so group dance was out. I was a decent singer though and might have joined a couple of singing contests just for OD (On Duty)
Best Memory about college
Too many to choose from, and not enough time to tell you. I’ve got to go now…
Wait..not till you tell us this..Did you get a placement job when you graduated?
I got one at Madras Talkies, and then at various other firms. It’s one career that I have no intention of leaving behind.