‘I am against capital punishment’

Published Jan 29, 2020, 12:01 am IST
Updated Jan 29, 2020, 12:25 am IST
Says Bharatiraja, discussing the serious message in his upcoming movie Meendum Oru Mariyaadhai, among other pertinent issues.
Meendum Oru Mariyadhai - Raasi Nakshathra and Bharathiraja.
 Meendum Oru Mariyadhai - Raasi Nakshathra and Bharathiraja.

Ace Bharathiraja is back to wielding megaphone after a gap of seven years, with a flick titled Meendum Oru Mariyaadhai (reminds us of his 1986 national award film Mudhal Mariyadhai). “No one should end their life, it is a crime, is the message the film imparts,” he says, talking to DC in an exclusive.

Here are excerpts from the talk Changing the title from OM (Old Man) to Meendum Oru Mariyaadhai:
People may perceive that OM is meant only for oldies. The movie imparts a big message to the present crop of youngsters. No one decides birth and death. So, no one has the right to end one’s life by committing suicide. And, I strongly feel it is applicable to even government/legal decisions on the death sentence. Penalize culprits with life sentences. Do not give Capital Punishment’ Let me put it hypothetically. When a criminal commits an offense of killing several innocents, you award him death penalty legally. But by hanging the culprit, you also do the same thing -- taking away someone’s life.  So, what’s the difference between him and you?


What’s MOM all about:
I play a writer who does farming and goes to London for some work. He chances upon a young girl who is about to commit suicide. How he saves her and asks her to travel with him for 10 days so that she would understand what life is all about forms the plot of the movie.

Opting for a new girl as the lead:
I always prefer women with native looks for my visionary roles. I prefer to mould raw talent. Raasi Nakshathra is my friend’s daughter and I felt she was apt for the lead.

Looks being secondary in becoming an actor:  
I came to the industry to become an actor. But in those days, heroes were very good looking. So, I had apprehensions and turned a filmmaker. I even refused to act in a Mani Ratnam film, Aaitha Ezhuthu initially. However, he asked me if I was keen to enter politics. I said ‘not at all’. The he said you are the right person for that character in AE. Anyway, today actors like Yogi Babu have broken the myth that anyone who wants to don grease paint should look handsome (laughs).

On Rajinikanth acting as hero even now:
Rajini is a truly handsome. When I showed him as ‘Parattai’ in 16 Vayadhinile, his style was amazing. As far as cinema is concerned, he is a great actor, but in real life he does not know how to act. He is a simple person, who is not caught in an image trap and appears without even a wig at public functions. We may differ in our ideologies, but I must appreciate him for his humble nature.

On Ponniyin Selvan being made as a film now:
MGR came to the sets of Oru Kaithiyin Dairy. He had stopped acting in films then. He wanted me to direct Ponniyin Selvan for his MGR Pictures banner with Kamal, Sridevi and Revathy. I was wondering if I could compress the classic in just one film. Still, Kamal and I agreed to work on the film. Before we could start, MGR fell sick and went to the US. So, the project was dropped.

On foraying into the digital world with Kuttra Parambarai:
It was a long-time dream to make it a film with popular actors, but unfortunately, it did not materialize. But I have revamped the project and will be rolling out many episodes as a web series.

A Union being unnecessary for cinema:
Although I act in films, I am not a member of the Nadigar Sangam. Unions are unnecessary for cinema. It is an independent body. Anyone can come and act or direct. It is not a factory, where permanent employees are there, and a union becomes necessary. But here in cinema, the relationship between actors and the rest of the unit members last only for 3 to 4 months of shooting.