Tuesday, December 15, 2015

M Subash & Natchathiran

Today, theSun published my interview with the director  M.Subash  who talks about his latest film project, Natchathiran. Here is the full interview  

Headline: Facing Up To The Challenge
By Bissme S

Local director M. Subash has taken on the mammoth task of not only directing his latest film based on a screenplay he wrote, but also playing two difficult leading roles.
Natchathiran, which is opening in cinemas tomorrow, centres on a man who has polio. But he refuses to let his handicap be a hindrance in achieving a better life. His son, on the other hand, suffers from autism and has to contend with bullies at his workplace.
 Subash is taking on both the roles of father and son in this Malaysian-made Tamil film with some 60% of the dialogue in Tamil and the rest in Bahasa Malaysia. Others in the cast include Yan Ibrahim, Mira Nair, Elisya Sandha and Hana Hamadan.
As to why he is tackling such a difficult theme and one which lacks commercial appeal, the director who has six films to his name says his heart is into making this kind of movies. He wants to educate his audience about the world around them through his films.
 He wants to make his audiences think about the issues affecting their lives.
“In the West, famous people with disabilities such as Helen Keller (who was blind and deaf) and Albert Einstein (who was said to have an autism) had managed to do well in life,” says Subash.
“But we rarely hear of people with disabilities from our side of the world becoming famous and doing great things.It is because we do not guide these children like our western counterparts do. We just ignore them. We neglect them. We do not give them the confidence to shine.”
While doing research on autism for the film, he found that many people have the misconception that autistic children cannot lead productive lives.
“Well, they are wrong,” he says. “Children with autism are clever. They [just] process information differently from a normal child. They need different teaching techniques to develop.”
He emphasises that Natchathiran is not just about autism, polio and people with disabilities. It also subtly highlights the transformation the Malaysian Indian community has undergone through the years. “The father and son in the movie have different ways of coping with challenges in their lives,” he says. “The father does not let his handicap become an obstacle to achieving his dream. The people who surround him, including his own mother, also does not encourage him to further his studies.
“But he is determined to follow his dream. Sadly, that seems to be lacking in his son. I just wanted to show how two different generations of Indian men handle the crisis in their lives.”
He adds that his movie is not everyone’s cup of tea.
“I have no regret making this kind of movie. Some people make movies to be famous and make money. But not me.”
Subash is already looking at his next movie which also touches on a taboo subject. Perjanjian Syaitan is a Malay horror film that focuses on an incestuous relationship. Shooting for the film has already been completed and it is expected to open in cinemas in early February.
In January, he will start shooting for another Tamil film, entitled Chelvi, that is loosely based on his late mother’s life.
“My mother is my biggest inspiration,” he says.
His mother was a karnatic (classical music of South India) singer and used to take him along on her singing engagements. Seeing his mother sing sparked his interests in the entertainment and art world. “My mother did not have an easy life,” he says.
“She was a divorcee who raised six children. She made sure her children have a roof over their head with enough food to eat and [equipped with a] solid education.”
His mother died at age 62 of breast cancer.
“My mother is someone you can admire and emulate,” he says.

“This movie is my tribute to her.”

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