I just followed the story of Sri Ramana which dealt mostly with human relations and healthy family bonding in the society. If the story is based on happenings in a Brahmin family, it is a mere coincidence,” said director Tanikella Bharani after his critically acclaimed film garnered praise from all quarters at the fest.
‘Mithunam,’ the critically acclaimed movie directed by Tanikella Bharani, had its moment of glory when it was screened as the only Telugu film at the Indian panorama division on Sunday at the 11th Chennai International Film Festival.
The show at Woodlands Symphony was attended by South Indian cinema celebrities such as SP Balasubramanyam, ‘Kokila’ Mohan and many filmmakers and artistes along with foreign dignitaries who showered praise and greetings on Bharani. They congratulated him for having made a sensible and meaningful film.
The film which deals with the sensitive relationship between a septuagenarian couple in rural Andhra Pradesh is produced by M Ananda Rao. ‘Mithunam’ is based on a short story by a noted Telugu story writer, columnist and journalist Sri Ramana.
Actor ‘Kokila’ Mohan had tears rolling down his eyes watching it. “Like Mohan, many people who believe in strong and healthy family relationships, appreciated the film saying that it gave them immense happiness and satisfaction," said Bharani who is scripting ‘Bhaktha Kannappa’ with Sunil in the lead role.
“I am very fortunate to get appreciation from veteran filmmakers like K Balachander and Bapu whom I always hold in highest esteem”, he said. While Balachander described the film as 120 minutes of video poetry, Bapu said he enjoyed watching every bit of it. He wished that Ramana and Bharani had worked together earlier to make more such movies. Actress Lakshmi, who gave an outstanding performance in the film as Buchhi, the loving wife of Appadasu (played by SPB), was very happy for having registered her name in the hearts of thousands of Telugu people because of the memorable character she played.
About the criticism from a section of audience that one particular caste was glorified in the film, thus promoting caste factor, Bharani said, “I just followed the story of Sri Ramana which dealt mostly with human relations and healthy family bonding in the society. If the story is based on happenings in a Brahmin family, it is a mere coincidence. As a filmmaker and writer, I respect every caste and religion equally. It is unfortunate to attribute motives after the film has released. The amount of response that came from many traditional families, irrespective of caste, has proved how deeply they connected with the film and scenes.”
Talking about his present project ‘Bhaktha Kannappa’, he justified the selection of Sunil as the lead actor as he has the required potential for the role Sunil is no longer a comedian. “He has good talent to fit into the character of Kannappa who was a barbarian and an uncivilised tribe. His devotion to Siva is not blind, but intense (moodha bhakthi kadu, gaadha bhakthi)”, said Bharani. “Poet Durjati’s name will appear in credits as story writer. Taking inspiration from earlier makers of this subject like Bapu, I humbly take up this project to make it as period film of 14th century,” he added.
Speaking about the appointment of non-qualified people as censor board members and endorsing actor Kamal Haasan’s answer of political influence and dominance in appointments, Bharani said, “Like other government posts, political people are finding rehabilitation even in censor board which is some thing to do with creative talent, knowledge of cinema and its making. When in other fields, it is mandatory to take second opinion from experts, how come appointments in censor board are not done taking a second opinion.”