Why did you do Maari? The Interview with Director Balaji Mohan

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“Maari was not so good”

” Maari was cool. I watched it thrice!”

“Maari was okay”

You must have received these varied feedback from your filmy friends, for sure.

We did contact Director Balaji Mohan to understand his approach towards his art, apart from his decision to make a full-on commercial film such as Maari.

Excerpts from the interview are as below

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A full version of the magazine can be found here

Let’s talk about your local don. What inspired you to opt for Maari? You were carving out a distinct route for yourself. Why this sudden change in approach?

I grew up watching Rajnikanth films. The cinematic taste that I had developed for commercial cinema precedes my taste for world cinema. I can’t deny that. Maari was supposed to be my second film. In fact, I had submitted similar scripts, gangster-action types after my first, but my producer, Mr. Sashi opted for one of the off-beat scripts which went to be made as Vaayai Moodi Pesavum. Since Vaayai Moodi Pesavum resembled Kadhalil Sodhappuvathu Eppadi in terms of approach, people naturally assumed Balaji Mohan is one who prefers doing offbeat films. Doing Maari was personally enduring and it helped me go back to where I originally started as a filmmaker.

Maari was not the usual don. Infact as I observed, the focus was more on the softer aspects of the protagonist. He doesn’t get emotional, rejects the love proposal, makes people’s lives around him miserable, but we were still able to enjoy his tantrums. Some thought on the characterization of Maari.

The characters was formed first and then a plot was drawn around him. I was excited about the prospect of making a movie on an individual who is bad, but not evil. He knows he is bad but he doesn’t consider it as a big deal . He, who stays as a bad guy from the start till the end, who doesn’t have a major goal in his life and unlike other dons does not go after killing people to go to a big level or run after money. Even Dhanush was excited as there was a lot of scope for acting in him

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Let’s talk about our indigenous mass movies. There is an increasing notion that mass films are of a low quality and don’t stand a chance against the taste of today’s intelligent audience. What is your take on this notion? What would you say to someone who is interested to produce such films?

Well I don’t have the authority to pronounce what can be done to stay relevant to the intelligent audience. One can have mass moments in an action film, You could have one in an intentionally tight thriller or a spooky film. It all depends on the writer on what he intended to give to his audience. But all I will say is, irrespective of whether it is a mass or some other genre based film, one should create films for oneself. You cannot make films just because the people want it. You should recreate what was there initially in your mind and that’s what I call ‘being honest’. From the script to the post to seeing it on the first day, I thoroughly enjoyed Maari and I am happy about it.

The full version of the interview is available in the digital version of Student Filmer Magazine



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