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The man behind T D Dasan

Last updated on: April 26, 2010 20:34 IST

The man behind T D Dasan

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Meghna George in Kochi

Not many knew Mohan Raghavan before his maiden venture, T D Dasan Std VI B, hit the screens.

Now the writer-director is being talked about as one of the talents to look forward to in Malayalam films. His film was noted for its honest and sensitive portrayal of a simple story about a young boy named T D Dasan, living in a village in Palakkad, who writes a letter to his estranged father.

The letter never reaches his father, but Dasan's life changes when a girl posing as his father replies to the letters.

In this exclusive interview, the director talks about his film, the response to it and the difficulties that he faced while making it.

Are you happy with the response to your maiden venture?

Yes, I am. In fact, it has done better that I ever expected. But I would have liked more people to watch it. The number of people who have actually watched the film is quite less.


Image: A scene from T D Dasan Std VI B with an inset of Mohan Raghavan

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'It is amazing that top directors support me'

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You think it's a flaw in marketing the film or is it the mindset where serious films fetch fewer crowds?

May be both. There are no big crowd pullers in the film. Of course, Biju Menon is a fantastic actor and even then, it may not be on the same level as the films with bigger names in the cast.

We have made the film with a comparatively limited budget without compromising on the film's quality. I have heard reactions like, 'we should have marketed the film before its release'. We had, in fact organised a preview, but even there, the response was rather disappointing. Perhaps it was because I was a first time director and there were no stars in attendance. It is never easy to find distributors. Finally it was distributed on a commission basis.

How was the response from those who have watched the film?

I got good reports from all sections and from all age groups. It is amazing that many top directors from the industry rang me up and talked about the film. In fact, Siby Malayil underlined the need for films like T D Dasan Std VI B for the industry.

Producer Suresh Kumar also spoke highly of the film. We are now doing a campaign with comments from directors like Siby Malayil, Priyadarsan, Lal Jose and Ranjith among others. I am overwhelmed by the support of the industry.


Image: A scene from T D Dasan Std VI B

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'It is certainly not a dry film'

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We have this tendency to brand serious films as offbeat and the rest as commercial. Have you faced such confusion while marketing it?

We have made it as a commercial movie or let's say, as a good film. We have seen films in Hindi like Page 3, Bheja Fry and LSD receiving great response, though they all are not the so-called commercial genre. I hope such a response will be there in Malayalam as well for serious cinema.

The film becomes a tad too serious towards the end. Was it deliberate?

I think it would cater to all those who see cinema as a serious work of art. Anyway, it is certainly not a dry film and I believe that all the sections can enjoy it.


Image: A scene from T D Dasan Std VI B

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'I plan to direct another film only when I really have something new to tell'

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How was your experience as a first time director, making T D Dasan Std VI B?

I have worked as an assistant to director Siddique Shameer sometime back, in the film Kadal. I have been an assistant and associate in quite a few films. I also worked with Vinod Sukumaran in his award winning film, Diary of a Housewife.

After writing the script of T D Dasan Std VI B, I was particular that it would be directed by me as I had made a 20-minute short film on the same subject with the basic thread. The producer was convinced and it gave me tremendous confidence as well.

Biju Menon has been a friend for a while and he agreed to do the role. Shwetha Menon and Jagathy Sreekumar were thorough professionals. They asked me about their roles and were actually not too bothered about the whole script or the narrative style [smiles].

We have tried several kids for the roles but the ones we selected responded amazingly well. They understood things like professional artists and performed better than our expectations.

How did the story come to you?

I don't have direct links with the story, in the sense that it is not autobiographical. But there was this incident where a letter reached a wrong address. We developed from that basic thread.

What are your future plans?

I am not in a hurry. I plan to direct another film only when I really have something new to tell. Of course, T D Dasan Std VI B has given me a confidence to move ahead.


Image: A scene from T D Dasan Std VI B

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