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Q&A With Engineers In Tamil Cinema: Director Karthik Subbaraj


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: TCE, Madurai

When did you first realize engineering wasn’t for you?

I never felt that way. The pull of cinema was more than that of engineering, that’s it.

How many arrears? Come on, don’t be shy.

Oh no. That’s dangerous territory.

Are your art directors better at drawing than your engineering drawing professor?

No comment. Some of my college professors are still in touch with me.

BL Theraja and AM Jain, do you still have nightmares about them?

They were my dearest friends. One of these days I would want to make a film about the men that write these books and the people that curse them. Would be a thriller, I think.

If you could make a movie about your college, what would the premise be?

I read somewhere that college life is the last place where true freedom can be achieved. After that phase, all our ideals and morals disappear. I have always wanted to explore that thought further.

How many times were you reprimanded for speaking to a member of the opposite sex?


Did you perform during college culturals? Best performance?

Uh..No, No. Namakku performance lam varadhu. Have directed stage plays though.

Best Memory about college

Oh, countless. It was the last period of life where I was dedicated to learning

Did you get a placement job when you graduated?

Yes I did. I worked for a good three years before I left it behind to do Naalaya Iyakkunar.


Read : Q/A With Engineers In Tamil Cinema – Actor Siva Karthikeyan

Read : Q/A With Engineers In Tamil Cinema – Actor Prasanna

Read: Q&A With Engineers In Tamil Cinema – Director Gautham Menon

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