ARTISTS FROM MELATTUR BHAGAVATA MELA PERFORMED FOR THE ENGLISH-TAMIL BIOPIC ‘RAMANUJAN’
Keeping in mind the authencity of the film, makers of the English – Tamil biopic ‘Ramanujan’ had artists Dr. Aravindh and Master Kailash among others from Melattur Bhagavata Mela to perform the dance drama for the film. The artists performed for a scene in the film wherein Ramanujan’s family watches the Bhagavata Mela. It features Anmol playing young Srinivasa Ramanujan, Suhasini Maniratnam who plays the role of Komalatammal and Nizhalgal Ravi playing the role of K. Srinivasa Iyengar. The artists performed the dance drama for the film in a small village late into the night, which ended at four in the morning. The audience was local villagers who accepted to act in the film.
Srivatsan Nadathur, producer – Camphor Cinema expresses, “The interesting part is that the artists are not professional performers. They are landowners or otherwise engaged in some other profession who preserve this ancient art form that collaborates three forms of performing arts; Music, Dance, Drama. Melattur Bhagavata Mela Natya Vidya Sangam were the ones who were preserving this art and so we approached them to perform for our shoot. They readily agreed to enact the part considering the subject of the film and for a man of such a stature who had put India once again in the world map w.r.t mathematics. Their performance was more than professional as it oozed out passion in every move they made. Coupled with Bhakti for the almighty and the intense setting of the scene with fire lighted all around along with all the villagers enthusiasm, made it a spectacular event which will take back all the audience to a different by gone era. The entire theme of the dance shoot was Lord Narasimha tearing apart Hiranyakashipu and that day of the shoot turned out to be the exact day of “Narasimha Jayanti” according to Hindu Calendar which we came to know from the villagers during the shoot!”
Sharanyan Nadathur, producer – Camphor Cinema further adds, “Our director did a bit of research on how the ambiance should be and for that he wanted to shoot at an authentic location. We decided on a tiny, cute and serene village which also had beautiful architecture. Our art team was successful in recreating that festival mela look that goes back to early 20th century. We could see lovely flowers with their enticing smell and colourful and auspicious powders in front of every house and in the agrahara. It was a challenge to cater costumes to such a huge gathering of more than 150 people of different age of that particular era. Our Cinematographer also did a wonderful job with the technical aspects of lighting which gave a real life to that scene, and the performance of the real artists with their orchestra was an icing on the cake. The shooting went on upto the dawn and the ambiance was so colourful with vibrant music combined with excellent lighting, artwork and traditional costumes made us to forget that we are living in 2013.”
Nizhalgal Ravi expresses, “It was indeed a very memorable experience to be a part of this film and also a great honour. I had read about the story of Ramanujan when I was young and never had I thought that I would get an opportunity to play such a pivotal role as the father of Ramanujan. It came as a great surprise to me when the director of this film told me about my role. It’s for the first time in life that I have shaved my head for a movie since it is being made in both English and Tamil. It’s the best character I have performed in my life so far. The Melattur Bhagavata Mela scene that we shot for this movie was a wonderful experience and one of the finest scenes of the movie. We had been there to the village and scheduled everything in advance. There were people from Canada and UK, mostly all NRI’s who performed this dance drama and entire night we had been shooting for it. It felt like a live program and looked very real during our shoot. I remember Anmol was very scared during this scene and we had consoled him, where as for me it was a great chance to interact with the dramatic people and professional people. I completely forgot myself as I was feeling a part of some ancient stories that we all read. I had also read about this story and seen their drama’s earlier. Being a part of this film is a lifetime experience that i shall never forget. Also the director of this movie is extremely capable of handling this kind of subject and bringing it on screen. It feels like one is travelling 100 years back. The film really brings a lot of traditional value. Its like a dream come true for me to be a part of this movie.”
Talking about his experience shooting with the artists from Melattur Bhagavata Mela, Anmol says, “It was an amazing experience that night shooting the Bhagavata Mela scene around 2am, in the lovely village Melattur. The shooting began with a huge guy having a big face, big moustache saying his dialogue aloud in Telugu. I was very afraid by the way he said his dialogue aloud. I was sitting with Suhasini ma’am that time and watching me getting afraid she asked me to catch her hand. She even told me not to worry and that she is with me. It’s an experience that I’m never going to forget.”
“Ramanujan” is an Indo-British collaboration film directed by National award winning director Gnana Rajasekaran and produced by Camphor Cinema, an independent film production company co-founded by four young entrepreneurs: Srivatsan Nadathur, Sushant Desai, Sharanyan Nadathur and Sindhu Rajasekaran. The film tracks the journey of the ace mathematician from Kumbakonam to Cambridge. It’s been simultaneously shot in Tamil and English.
The film stars grandson of legendary couple Gemini Ganesan and Savitri & step- nephew of Rekha, ‘Abhinay Vaddi’ who plays the role of ‘Ramanujan’, Malayali actress Bhama, Suhasini Maniratnam wife of the renowned director Mani Ratnam and the established British stage and screen actor, Kevin McGowan. It features Indian actors Abbas, Nizhalgal Ravi, Delhi Ganesh, Y. GEE. Mahendra and Sarath Babu and British actors Michael Lieber, Richard Walsh, Cloudia Swann and Elizabeth Bourne playing vital roles as well.