Sumathi Ram, the Houston, Texas based Tamil poet is the latest to join the bandwagon of lady directors in India. Her debut film, Viswa Thulasi releasing this Friday is scripted, directed and produced by her and India’s finest actors Mammooty and Nandita Das play the lead roles. The film has music by two living legends Ilayaraja and M.S.Viswanathan. Sitting in her rented bungalow at Saligramam in Chennai, Sumathi Ram spoke to Sify.com. Excerpts:
What is Viswa Thulasi all about?
Viswa Thulasi is a sentimental drama that describes strength and grace of true love. I am inviting the audience to Sundarapuri, a fictitious place to witness, enjoy and cherish the love between Viswam (Mammooty) and Thulasi (Nandita). I assure my audience that they will not only relate to these characters but will feel a certain empathy towards them.
How did the script evolve?
I am basically a poet as I have done M Phil from Anna University in American literature. Actually it was M.S.Viswanathan sir who set to music some of the poems that I had written. One day while sitting in Houston and listening to the album, I suddenly saw characters all around me. It inspired me to write a long poem which culminated in the script of Viswa Thulasi . When my husband heard the script he was willing to fund me and we came to Chennai, lived out of a hotel and started work on the film.
Why did you choose Mammooty and Nadita Das two finest actors in India as your protagonists?
I always respected and liked Mammooty sir and I could not think of another actor in the role of Viswam. The radiance in his face will mesmerise you. I had seen Nandita in Earth and felt that she has all the beauty, power, weakness, pleasure and pain- all ‘navarasas’ in her face. She has lived the role of Thulasi. After hearing the script, she readily agreed to do the film. Added to that Manoj.K.Jayan also plays a powerful role of Shiva in the film.
Tell us about the music of Viswa Thulasi ?
Music is the backbone of this period film. In a way you can call the film a musical as there are six melodious songs composed by Ilayaraaja and M.S.Viswanathan. Raja sir’s re-recording is another major highlight of the film.
Would you say that the film is an art-house film? And what was the cost of production?
It is not an art film but a new experience for Tamil audience. My husband is a businessman and he has funded the film. Don’t ask me about the cost (smiles) as I was only involved in the creative aspect of film making. After all,
it is my dream come true!