When the legendary Manmohan Desai, the director of formulaic Hindi films of the 70’s and 80’s was asked how he is able to make “perfect formula films”, his reply was “to make nonsensical films that only the common man understands”! The formula has not changed very much since then even in our own Tamil films where they make movies with five songs, five fights and larger-than-life heroes.
Dharani is the hottest director in Tamil with an impressive track record of making perfect formula films like Dhill, Dhool and Ghillli, which were also blockbusters.
Confesses Dharani: “There is nothing called ‘perfect formula’ these days. To me, presentation and packaging are more important. The idea is to give the common man his value for money”. According to the trade, Ghillli is the biggest hit in the last 10 years and the collections will cross Padayappa and Saamy.
Dharani was born in a middle class family and was attracted to film making at the age of 5! He used to go to the film institute during vacations and learn the different aspects of film-making. He was a good artist and used to paint pictures of film stars and even write scripts for his friends. One of the pictures that young Dharani sketched was that of Kamalhassan and he says that when he got an autograph of Kamal on the picture he was on cloud nine. After school Dharani joined Loyola College for BA Literature where Vikram was his classmate.
They used to be close friends and confess that both of them used to talk and discuss more about cinema than literature. After getting a degree Dharani joined the Film Institute to learn editing and according to him that paved the way for his entry into films. He claims that he was able to master all the seven arts of cinema during this period and he even passed out with the distinction of the best student. Later he worked as assistant to some of top directors like R.V.Udayakumar and late Tirupathy Swamy before he directed Ethirum Puthirum with Mammootty in the lead.
The film ran into financial problems and the release was delayed for years and thus went un-noticed. But still Ethirum Puthirum bagged the State award for the third best film of that year. Then came a dark period in his life when he met with an accident that crippled him, but the spirit in the man never came down as he worked hard to achieve his dreams. He still considers A.Purnachandra Rao, T.Rama Rao and Ajay Kumar to be his pillars of strength as they signed him to direct Dhill with Vikram in the lead which went on to become a big hit.
Then there was no looking back as his next film “Dhool” was also a blockbuster and now with “Ghilli” he has struck hat trick and is the current ‘Sultan of box-office’! Now Dharani is considering to make a bilingual in Tamil and Telugu with Vikram and Pawan Kalyan playing the leading roles.