By Deepa Unni
He wanted to become an actor, but ended up as a very successful director. As a student Viji Thampy used to take part in plays, both by directing and acting. After his college studies, he decided to make his entry into filmdom. Working with Balachandra Menon, he gained a wealth of experience and went on to become an independent director with David, David, Mr.David. That was just the beginning. After that came action movies like Witness, Kalaalpada and the recent Satyameva Jayate and comedy films with family sentiments like Kunukitta Kozhi and Avittam Thirunaal Aarogya Sreeman. His dream of becoming an actor was also fulfilled with his appearances in his own films. He did a considerably good role in Balachandra Menonís award-winning Samaantharangal. But basically he remained a director, churning out films that worked well with the audience. His recent film Satyameva Jayate was a runaway hit and has been dubbed in Tamil and Telugu too. And recently with Black and White, Viji Thampy made his entry into the world of television serials too. That serial, an action oriented one, became much popular and now he is on to a daily serial with equal dose of comedy and family sentiments - Mahatma Gandhi Colony.
Viji Thampy talks about his films, his concept of filmmaking etc:
You were perhaps keeping a low profile for some time, why so?
I have done action films as well as family subjects with a tint of humour. But recently, with small budget comedy films competing amongst themselves, things have changed a lot. Lot of trash films started being produced, and since I was against this, I decided not to make such films. I decided to remain aloof and made some tele-serials. And when circumstances seemed favourable, I made Satyameva Jayate.
Which type of films gives you utmost satisfaction, action films or the light comedy ones with family sentiments?
I sincerely feel no film-director would ever be fully satisfied with any of his films. I personally happen to find a lot of negative points in my own films when I see them after completing the shooting. Every time I see the first print of any film of mine, I detect more faults and shortcomings than the positive traits and make a resolve to mend them in the next film. I do accordingly, but in the next film I find some other shortcomings. The desire to mend such shortcomings, and to be precise, the incidence of such shortcomings is what inspires me to go on making films.
Is this applicable to your latest release too? Could you find shortcomings in Satyameva Jayate too?
Of course, yes. It is natural for every artist to feel that he could have done much better. I too felt so while watching Satyameva Jayate.
How do you feel while facing the camera as an actor, being a director yourself?
Acting in my own films involves a lot of tension. While I am facing the camera in my own film, it is my own assistant who is behind the camera and who is to judge my performance. Being my assistant, he may be reluctant to point out my shortcomings and I am forced to be the judge of my own performance. This is what accounts for the tension that I mentioned earlier. But I enjoy acting in films by other directors because they can judge my performance and even correct me. Usually my appearances in my own films are not pre-planned, they happen by chance when there is the need for an actor or so.
How would you like to be known, as an actor or as a director?
As a director, no doubt about that. Though I had once desired to become an actor, acting for me is secondary now. Itís not my profession. Itís just that I enjoy doing little bit of acting now and then.
Could you tell us something about your future projects?
Most probably Iíll be embarking on two projects soon, both on the big screen, after I have completed Mahatma Gandhi Colony and Annie. The first would be a horror film. The cast has not yet been decided. Biju Menon and Samyuktha Verma are most likely to play the lead roles. The second one would be an action film for Evershine Films with Suresh Gopi in the lead.