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 – and most small towns of South India sporting a college each – 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.
When did you first realise engineering wasn’t for you?
Oh. Ipdi ketta epdi?
How many arrears? Come on, don’t be shy.
Again and again with these questions. Madam, you’re going to get me in trouble.
Are your art directors better at drawing than your engineering drawing professor?
Oh definitely. In college, my teachers used to draw lines, and we used to make roads in them. Here, our art directors give us entire cities to drive cars in. You know who wins this contest right?
BL Theraja and AM Jain, do you still have nightmares about them?
They’re all good people, they never bothered me. Now the man I’d like to meet is Mr Chand.
Have a nice talk with him
If you could make a movie about your college, what would the premise be?
Varutha Padatha Valibar Sangam plus some serious studies is equal to my college life
How many times were you reprimanded for speaking to a member of the opposite sex?
Oh man. Never. We’d never even look that way. (laughs)
Did you perform during college culturals? Best performance?
What else? Mimicry. I had a great gag involving Rajini sir and Kamal sir. It got me quite a few prizes.
Best Memory about college
Everything. The one thing I remember most about college is the way we laughed at everything. We failed, we laughed. We got arrears, we laughed. Even though we laugh a lot now, it’s just not the same.
Did you get a placement job when you graduated?
Oh yes, I joined Vijay TV