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Comedian's makeover

An actor by accident and a director by choice, Pandiarajan's short film on child labour "Magan" has won rave reviews


HE IS no hero material. Yet R. Pandiarajan has managed to stay afloat for more than two decades in Kollywood. After trying his hand at direction and acting in commercial cinema, he has now entered parallel cinema with `Magan', a short film on child labour and prohibition.

The short film directed by Pandiarajan was screened at the International Children's Film Festival held in Hyderabad recently and won him critical acclaim. How does he feel about the makeover? "I felt very happy. There are times when you have a great sense of satisfaction. And this was one such moment. To see your film being screened along with German, Chinese and Finnish movies is in itself an achievement. The reception I got is something I can never forget. It was indeed special."

"I always wanted to be an actor, but ended up becoming an assistant director," he says. Though he never dreamt of donning the greasepaint again, things took a turn and he was forced to act in a movie directed by him. "As no one was willing to play the role of Pandian's (the hero) brother, I decided to do the role. It clicked (remember the `muttiducha' scene)," he says. His thiruttu muzhi also became a trademark. "It just happened. And as people liked it, I landed up doing such roles in the films that followed," Pandiarajan says.

What does he think is his USP? "My brand of comedy — I always get into trouble and try to get out of it. My looks and stature suited the roles."

Though he is aware of his limitations, Pandiarajan thinks the formula for success in films is the capability to be a thorough entertainer. "I know what suits me best. I never venture into areas I am not comfortable in," he says.

How important is body language for a comedian? "It plays a vital role. But it should be character-based. Otherwise it would become stale," he points out. "Aan Paavam" ran for 200 days, but I consider "Gopala Gopala" a hit because it was released at a time when satellite TV held sway and video piracy was high," he says.

The actor says he loves to write novels and short stories when he's not shooting. His first book "Thedal" has just been released. Why does he write books? "I read a lot. Also as I have written scripts for movies, I have the confidence to write a book. Moreover, I believe in the dictum `Oyvukku oyvu kodukka vendum'," he says with a smile.

M. ALLIRAJAN

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