Today theSun feature my interview with producer and actor Denes Kumar and his wife a film director Vimala Perumal .... where they talk about their career, their married life and their deepavali celebration. Read the full story below
Headline: Blazing A New Trail
By Bissme S
Sunpix Norman Hui
WITH Deepavali dawning tomorrow, theSun is shining a spotlight on the newest power couple in the Malaysian film industry, actor producer Denes Kumar and director Vimala Perumal.
It will be a bright Festival of Lights indeed for them as their latest film, the comedy Vedigundu Pasangge (Rowdy Folks), has created history by becoming the highest-grossing Malaysian Tamil film, raking in more than RM1.3 million at the box office.
No local Tamil film has ever collected more than RM1 million at the box office – that is, until now. Produced by Denes and Vimala’s production house Veedu Production Sdn Bhd, Vedigundu Pasangge – which was released in July – also has the distinction of being the first Malaysian Tamil film to be shown in the United Kingdom. There are plans to screen it in India by the end of the year as well. Denes not only produced the film but also plays the lead, while Vimala is the director of the film.
When asked how he felt taking instructions from his wife on the set, 36-year-old Denes says: “I am used to taking instructions from her in our house. “The only difference is that inside our house ... no one else sees it.”
On more a serious note, he adds that he has the highest respect for his wife as a film director.
“She knows exactly what she wants and it is easy to work for a director who knows what he or she wants. She will also make sure you never overact.”
To Denes’ acknowledgement that “when we are on the set, she is the captain of the ship”, Vimala is quick to reply that “as the producer, my husband has prepared the ship for me to navigate”. Vedigundu Pasangge is the third film Vimala has helmed. Her first was Vilaiyaatu Pasange (Playful Folks) in 2011, followed by 2014’s Vetti Pasanga (Useless Folks). The couple have already lined up their next film, which will likely begin shooting early next year. Vimala says the film will be a horror-comedy. “This will be my first attempt at directing a horror film.”
Denes is determined that their new film will have stronger content and better production values.
“We have created a benchmark with Vedigundu Pasangge, and we certainly do not want to produce anything lower than this benchmark.”
Denes, who started out as a dancer and choreographer, has a varied career ranging from hosting TV shows to acting and producing.
Malaysian Tamil Association Awards in 2015, as well as the most popular artiste and best TV anchor at the Malaysias Kalai Ulagam Awards the same year.
Vimala has been involved in the performing arts since her university days, where she was studying for her degree in film and animation.
In fact, it was during a cultural show she organised at her university in 2001 that she met Denes. They began dating, but broke up in 2005 and went their separate ways.
“I missed him very much and I think he missed me too,” Vimala recalls.
Three years later, they got back together, and started their production house. The couple eventuallygot married in 2010.
“We are not a perfect couple,” Vimala admits.
“We have a lot of arguments. We work together. We write scripts together.”
She says since no two people think alike, they of course argue. But she believes that arguments are normal and healthy between a married couple.
“We never go to bed angry. We always patch things up before we sleep. If we do not patch things up, he cannot sleep, and neither can I. No matter how much we argue, deep down, I know he cares for me.”
Denes likes the fact that his wife is brutally honest about his performance.
“I love listening to criticism, because criticism improves you. When [my wife] praises me, I know for sure it is genuine and comes from her heart,” he says, but adds with a laugh: “She seldom praises me!”
Despite their busy lives, the two also make sure they set aside time to spend with their two children, six-year-old daughter
Dashena, and three-year-old son Sharwin.
Vimala remembers when Denes had to perform on a television show, and could not celebrate their daughter’s second birthday, she decided to surprise him by bringing their daughter to meet him backstage, along with a cake.
“He was literately in tears when he saw us,” she recalls.
Denes also makes it a point not to take on any jobs during this festive season.
“I try to put my family first.”
For the past eight years, the couple have been celebrating Deepavali at Vimala’s hometown in Sungai Petani, Kedah. But as her parents moved to Kuala Lumpur this year, the family will be celebrating the holiday in the city for the first time since their marriage.
Denes and Vimala join theSun in wishing all those who celebrate the Festival of Lights a very happy Deepavali, and a safe journey to those who are travelling back home.
PS: Special thanks … to Mid Valley Megamall for the use of its premises for the shoot; R. Yogash for styling Denes, Vimala and their two children; Vrayz Designs for supplying their wardrobe; and Omtara for their accessories.