‘We’ll meet again when you approach Cinema with sincerity’: Sreenivasan once told Priyadarshan


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Filmmaker Priyadarshan tells the story of him overcoming the most critical stage of his directing career with the help of Sreenivasan. 

Sreenivasan, Priyadarshan

When I got the chance to direct a film, I was determined to cast Sreeni (Sreenivasan) in my first movie. After hearing the story of 'Poochakkoru Mookkuthi', it was Sreeni who encouraged me the most for the project. The twists and turns in the storyline was what impressed Sreeni incredibly. Sreeni’s encouragement and the bond we shared, provided me with the strengths and skills necessary to pursue my subsequent film projects.

After the first film, I came to a disheartening realisation that I had nothing in my hand for another project. And of course, the second film is a defining moment in the life of any filmmaker. I came to Madras not knowing what to do. I had no story. Just an empty mind. Eventually I collected several movie cassettes and watched them. I stole a few scenes from them. I felt very angry with myself. Joshiy and IV Sasi had people to write them stories. But I had no one. I had no script writers to write a story for me. And if I didn’t do a second film, then that would be the end of my film career.

Suddenly Sreeni’s face came into my mind. I was sure that he would help me with the writing if he was given a role. Without telling the real purpose, I contacted Sreeni to act and he came. We had to begin shooting. I struggled to contain my laughter when Sreeni asked where the script was. I told him that if the script is written and corrected, then the film will go ahead; if not, the shooting will come to a halt. In that situation, he had no other option. I gave a writing pad, a pen and asked him to write a scene. And a film - ‘Odaruthammava Aalariyam’ - was made without much fuss or ado. Hence, I survived the critical phase of a director's life unscathed.

Nothing entertains me as much as Sreeni's narration of life experiences. I haven't encountered many characters mentioned in his conversations. But they have earned a special place in my heart. We always learn something from someone we love. I have experienced that the most from Sreeni.

Sreenivasan, Priyadarshan

I am quite selfish in certain matters. I engage with those who know better than me. I hoard that knowledge from them. One has to work extremely hard to be like that on our own. For me, it's too much to bother with. Damodaran Master’s deep knowledge of history has always amazed me. Same goes for some other friends. I love to be friends with someone who stands first in something, someone who is a winner.

Sreeni is against stealing stories. However, once I had to make a movie out of a Hindi's film’s story. But if I told Sreeni, who was writing the screenplay, about this, then the film would stall. So I lied to him that the story was an independent interpretation of a play by Bernard Shaw, and he believed it.

However, on the last day of shooting, Sreeni realised the truth and said goodbye to me. “We will meet again when you approach cinema with genuine sincerity. Until then, there is no need for this association,” Sreeni told me frankly.

To tell the truth, the anger or revenge that I felt at that moment immensely influenced my professional life, shaping it to what it has become today. Those who love us need to inculcate some realisations in our lives. Sreeni has fulfilled that duty on many occasions in my life. His talks can initially evoke anger and discomfort. But when analysed slowly, I have often felt that what Sreeni said was right.

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