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6 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
This is a very special issue of Brew.. This issue is also special because it celebrates the success of three young men who have overcome all odds and achieved tremendous success. We speak to them about their journey – VIJAY SETHUPATHI-NALAN KUMARASWAMY- KARTHIK KUMARMen who are breaking conventions in their field of art and making the impossible possible. The Legendary Alphonso Arul Doss talks to Karthik Kumar, who volunteered to interview the master artist. We congratulate Karthik for his success with EVAM. EVAM his theatre company completes ten years this month. A lot brewing as we celebrate our third anniversary next month. Details would be out soon. Until next time. Keep Brewing. Sameer Bharat Ram Editor TO ADVERTISE: Prashantth S Sutrave Call: +91 72999 49412 e-mail: email@example.com
The Brew takes no responsibility for unsolicited photographs or material. All PHOTOGRAPHS, UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED ARE USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSE ONLY.
CINEMA, MUSIC AND ART WITH THE
Creative Director 01 Mihir Ranganathan Designer 02 Adithya Sowmy 01
Asst. Editor 03 Amritha Jaganathan Sales and Marketing 04 Prashantth S Sutrave
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www.brewmag.in Edited and Published by Sameer Bharat Ram, and owned by SM BrandMuni Consulting Pvt. Ltd, Published from No.609, Lakshmi Bhavan, Anna salai, Mount Road, Chennai - 600 002. Tel.: +91 44 4208 9392. Printed by K. Srinivasan at Srikals Graphics pvt. Ltd, No.5, Balaji Nagar, 1st street, Ekkattuthangal, Chennai - 600 032. Editor: Sameer Bharat Ram
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 7
CONTRIBUTORS AND ADVISORY BOARD Sethumadhavan N. Sethumadhavan.N holds an MBA from XLRIJamshedpur and has a background in the FMCG & Retail sectors. It was while leading the editorial team at PassionForCinema.com (a popular movie portal that’s now defunct) that Sethu realized that his true passion was Cinema and everything connected to it, including the business side of it. Currently based in Mumbai,Sethu works in the education sector and also runs www. madaboutmoviez.com, a portal dedicated to Indie/Small films,Regional Cinema and World Cinema. Sethu has also been associated with filmmaking workshops and film festivals.
Venket Ram Venket Ram is a leading Indian celebrity & fashion photographer, who has shot principal photography stills for several notable films as well as portfolios. He quit his engineering studies to work with cinematographers for a while, then joined a course in Visual Communication at Loyola College. After that, he worked with photographer Sharad Haksar and in 1993, started his own studio. He recently released the first two editions of his annual calendars in 2011 and 2012 with an overwhelming response.
Kavita Baliga The young American Soprano, Kavita Baliga has sung in concerts around the U.S., Switzerland, Italy and India with repertoire ranging from Opera and Oratorio, Musical Theatre to Indian film. In 2008, Ms. Baliga joined A.R Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory as a faculty member and founded the KMMC Chamber Choir. She is presently developing performance programmes in India.
Mallika Sarabhai Educated as an economist and a business manager, Mallika Sarabhai is one of India’s best known Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancers. She has taken her work and her company Darpana to not only over 90 countries around the world, but also to the farthest parts of India.
Ashok Verghese Is one of the youngest education entrepreneurs who is making a great difference in this field in the country. He is the Director of the Hindustan group of Institutions, again one of the pioneering educational groups in the country. He supports the cause of promoting young talent in art and music.
Neeru Nanda A graduate from Delhi University. Passionate about writing, she freelanced as a feature writer for ten years before switching to publishing. Author of a collection of short stories titled “IF” (Rupa & Co), Neeru is now working on two novels and a series of books for children.
Veejay Sai An award-winning writer, editor and a culture critic. He has written and published extensively on Indian classical music, fashion, theatre, food and art, and loves traveling, researching literary and cultural history. He is an editorial consultant with over 40 brands and designers in and outside India and is on the jury for several prestigious awards in the arts across the country.
Dr. M. Lalitha and M. Nandini Internationally acclaimed, award winning Violin Maestros Dr. M. Lalitha and M. Nandini have been widely applauded as the ‘Queens Of Violin’ and have enthralled audiences across the globe. They have been selected as Cultural Ambassadors and dignitaries to the US and UK respectively. They have published books and written numerous articles relating to Music and religion..
Kyle Hill Kyle Hill is a science writer who specializes in finding the secret science in your favorite fandom. He writes for theScientific American Blog Network at his blog, Overthinking It. Hill also contributes to Slate, Wired, Nautilus, Popular Science, and io9. He manages Nature Education’s Student Voices blog, is a research fellow with the James Randi Educational Foundation, and you can follow him on Twitter under @Sci_Phile.
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Rahul Dev Rahul Dev is a Fashion and Advertisement photographer based in chennai
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | AUGUST 2013 | 8
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33/15, Eldams Road, Chennai - 600 018, Tamil Nadu.
CONTENTS 46 32
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VOL 03 ISSUE 12
40 10 YEARS on
08 sailing on the
stage with evam - karthik kumar
12 JOBS 16 MAN WITH
HERE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE -NALAN & VIJAY SETHUPATHI
46 ART WAS BORN WITH ME - Alphonso Arul Doss
26 FINGER TIP COLOR DrIP - ADELINE YEO
CLAWS - hugh jackman Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 11
SAILING ON THE SHIP OF THESEUS In early 2000s, NDTV Profit aired a T.V. programme where short films were shown and discussed over with the film maker himself. It was my introduction to the format and was fascinated by the stories and concepts in those films. However, only one film stayed with me over all these years- Anand Gandhi’s Right Here Right Now. In Conversation with Anand Gandhi: “I create order & design to
film has defied the compromises indie filmmakers make owing
achieve a perfectly working illusion of spontaneity
to constraint of resources. How come you never succumbed to any pressure?
The release of Gandhi’s debut feature was keenly awaited knowing very well that his sense of grammar of films would change the
I never had any pressure apart from creative ones. I had a team
general perception of cinema, but the first look of Ship of Theseus
that stood by me and believed in the film from day one to the last.
made me realize that the film was here to go beyond that!
Sohum Shah, who acted in the film financed it entirely and stood
Here is my interview with the filmmaker just a week before the film
like a rock to make the film happen. We never felt any pressure
hit the screens across the nation.
during the course of making the film. We were completely free.
How was Ship of Theseus formed? Was it a central theme first,
What if Kiran Rao had not come on board?
around which you constructed your plot, or certain disjointed events which fascinated you, which you wove together with a
It would definitely have been more challenging. We might have
gone for a guerilla way of distributing and would have had a limited release with whatever money we could have put in. We
With Ship of Theseus, there were couple of ideas that kept growing
are still having a limited release, but with Kiran coming on
in my mind for a long time. Then one story idea came to my mind
board there definitely has been more attention, media coverage,
which is now the end of the film and which had a correlation with
interviews, better marketing and distribution. Maybe if she hadn’t
the philosophy I was trying to convey. The story idea sort of gave me
been there we would have relied more on word of mouth publicity
a platform for that philosophy.
leading to wider distribution.
Which of the three stories are closest to your heart?
Don’t you think with Kiran and UTV coming on board, the independent nature of film somehow has got lost, or do you
All the three stories are extremely close to my heart. They are an
think it’s a necessary evil?
introspection of my journey in one way or the other, bundled with the stories of many other people I have seen, met or heard of in
I don’t think it’s evil at all. Kiran is not a mainstream actor. Over
the last few years, the kind of work she has done, the kind of movie she has made, the kind of culture & art she has tried to
Some portions of the film have been shot in Sweden. The principal
promote is extremely relevant. Her coming on board does not
photography spanned over many months. Unknown faces were
defeat the purpose but rather strengthens it. We have managed
chosen over mainstream actors. Everything about making of the
to keep the independent nature of the film intact with the kind of
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infrastructure she has brought in and it has more to do with what
further observation turn out to be not paradoxes at all). So you
she believes in. In fact tomorrow if some movie intrigues me, I
can say, I would aspire to some kind of critical thinking in all my
would do whatever I can to help it out.
Its little ironical that while you might herald a new era of
Finally, your thoughts on the digital distribution strategy that
filmmaking with Ship of Theseus, you were also a part of two
the film has adopted. How has the response been so far and
television. serials – Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi & Kahaani
what the future holds for such a strategy in India?
Ghar Ghar Ki - which started a phase in television which we are not extremely proud of today. Your thoughts on the same.
With digital distribution strategy people are able to bring in the film to their city with adequate number of votes. The strategy has
Yeah I know the range of things I have been involved in. These
been extremely successful and just what the nature of the movie
are completely different things I have been involved in; at that
demanded. We are already releasing the film in Hyderabad and
point of time (when I started writing for television), I was 19 years
Chennai owing to the response we have got from these polls.
old. (The short film – Right Here Right Now happened 3 years
Ahmedabad and Kochi are also not far behind and might see a
later). You are young and you are interested in lots of things. But
release soon. I really want my film to be seen by as many people
whatever I have done, whether it is TV, or Right Here Right Now,
as possible. It is a continuous battle that we are fighting and shall
or Continuum (my second short film) or this film, I have received
hopefully take the film to maximum number of cities.
a lot of appreciation for all of them. All my works have been received with lot of warmth and I feel happy, content and assured
- Abhishek Chatterjee
that I got a chance to play in different areas of the craft. The air-hostess voice over at the beginning of Ship of Theseus promo. The cacophony as part of background score in Right Here Right Now. You always manage to pick up elements from seemingly mundane stuff around us and weave it rhythmically into the narrative. From where did you take this inspiration? I find it extremely important to do that; to find nuances, to find ironies, discover paradoxes and weave them into the screenplay in the most engaging manner possible. I try to constantly juxtapose them with our daily normal activities and achieve an order with them. I work on the script, etch out characters with details, give them a back story, work on the narrative structure and then I create the order and design which would encompass them. Within that order and design created I try to achieve a perfectly working illusion of spontaneity. Which other philosophical paradoxes do you want to explore in future through your movies? I am interested in all sorts of unsolved problems, not just paradoxes – which largely, are perceived inconsistencies in logic, and become triggers for critical thinking. (Most paradoxes, on
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SOME SEE WHAT’S POSSIBLE, OTHERS CHANGE WHAT’S POSSIBLE Jobs fails at its most basic level because it is clearly just Kutcher trying to be Jobs. Kutcher tries his heartfelt best to rise to the occasion, but the script puts him in his place; just like Jobs did to everyone else, presumably because he was mean since that’s all the film tells us. Pirates of the Silicon Valley still remains the best Steve Jobs movie, but that may change when Aaron Sorkin finally finishes writing his version of Jobs’s life. The problems don’t end there with Ashton Kutcher. Jobs’ life is only partially portrayed, so if you only know about Jobs being at Apple--that is still pretty much all you know about him. Engineers are portrayed, as they typically are in “Hollywood” films-nerdy enough to be uncool.
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The film opens in 2001 with Steve Jobs introducing the iPod at an Apple Town Hall meeting. It then flashes back to Reed College in 1974. Jobs had already dropped out due to the high expense of tuition, but was still auditing classes with the approval of the dean who took him under his wing. Jobs is particularly invested in a course on calligraphy. He meets up with his friend Daniel Kottke influenced by his experiences with LSD, Jobs and Kottke spend time in India. The film then moves forward to 1976 where Jobs is back in Los Altos, California living at home with his adoptive parents. He is working for Atari and develops a partnership with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak after he sees that Wozniak has built a personal computer (the Apple 1). They name their new company Apple Computer. Wozniak gives a demonstration of the Apple 1 at the Homebrew Computer Club, where Jobs receives a contract with Paul Terrell. Jobs asks his mechanic/carpenter father Paul for permission to use the family garage for his new company. His father agrees and Jobs then adds Kottke, Bill Fernandez, Bill Atkinson, Chris Espinosa, and later Rod Holt to the Apple team to build Apple 1 computers. Terrell is disappointed by what they produce which forces Jobs to seek capital elsewhere. After many failed attempts by Jobs to gain venture capital, Mike Markkula invests in the company which allows them to move forward. Jobs and Wozniak develop the Apple II and introduce it at the 1977 West Coast Computer Faire. The Apple II is a remarkable success and suddenly, the company is very successful. Jobs thus begins to distance himself from old friends such as his housemates Kottke and his high school girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan who tells him that she is pregnant with their child. Brennan eventually gives birth to Lisa Brennan-Jobs whom Jobs continues to deny is his daughter. He also brings in John Sculley to become the CEO of the company. As his behavior becomes more erratic, Jobs is moved away from The Lisa to the Macintosh Group where he works with Bill Atkinson, Burrell Smith, Chris Espinosa, and Andy Hertzfeld. He also forces the original team leader of the Macintosh group out of it. Though the Macintosh is introduced with a great deal of fanfare in 1984, Jobs is forced out of the company by Sculley in 1985. The film jumps forward to 1996. Jobs is married to Laurene Powell
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Jobs and has accepted Lisa as his daughter. He has a son, Reed and is also running the company NeXT which Apple decides to buy. He is asked by then CEO-Gil Amelio to return to Apple as a consultant. Jobs does so and eventually fires Amelio and Markkula when he is named the new CEO. Jobs becomes interested in the work of Jonathan Ive and works to reinvent Apple. The film ends with Jobs recording the dialogue for the Think Different commercial in 1997. Jobs, a good film if all you really wanted to learn by watching the film was about Steve Jobs at Apple. It’s a well known fact that there was a brilliant mind behind this man who made the great company and every other aspect of Job’s life was just barely portraid in the film. Jobs afterall did not just make Apple, he was a big part of Pixar’s lname today. For those who wanted to learn about Apple as a company and about the technology and the ideas behind the iPod, iPhone and the MacBook; well you are in for disappointment . This is, to a great extent, only about the formation of Apple, most of the people who were actually exsited for this movie were probabalytoo young to know what Apple at this stage.
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CLAWS Even as Hugh Jackman began to work on “Les Miserables” as emaciated French prisoner Jean Valjean early last year, he was secretly starting the intense workout regimen that would pack 30 pounds of muscle onto his frame to play the titular superhero in “The Wolverine.” “I started preparing the moment I finished that first prison scene
bland, boiled chicken.
[in ‘Les Miz’]. So I shot that and then I started putting on size and the costume had to hide that,” Jackman told the Daily News,
For “Wolverine,” Jackman had to spend a 30-hour stretch
gesturing toward his abs. “I had to wear a bit of a fat suit here,
dehydrating himself completely so that he could lose 10 pounds
so it didn’t look like Jean Valjean was getting jacked.”
of water weight and have his muscles bulge extra big for a major fight sequence.
It must have worked, since the 44-year-old actor went on to nab
“It’s an old bodybuilder trick,” he explains. “And the first liquid
an Oscar nomination for that performance — and immediately
you have after, say, 30 hours is glycerin mixed with honey or
segued into his most famous role as the claw-popping breakout
Coca Cola — it’s the first thing in your veins and your muscles
star of the X-Men franchise in “The Wolverine,” opening Friday.
go whoosh .” Even as Hugh Jackman began to work on “Les Miserables” as
The film marks Jackman’s sixth time growing out those
emaciated French prisoner Jean Valjean early last year, he was
trademark mutton chops, and he’s currently busy filming No. 7,
secretly starting the intense workout regimen that would pack
“X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
30 pounds of muscle onto his frame to play the titular superhero
Since Jackman doesn’t boast the mutant healing power of his
in “The Wolverine.”
onscreen persona, every time he takes the role, it means months spent in the weight room. It also means the self-proclaimed
Set in the aftermath of 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “The
foodie, who cites New York’s restaurants as his favorite part of
Wolverine” finds Jackman’s brooding mutant struggling to
living here, is condemned to a 6,000-calories-per-day diet of
forgive himself for killing the love of his life, Jean Grey (Famke Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 21
Janssen). Summoned to Japan to pay his respects to a dying
the one promise he was forced to make to his wife, Deborra-Lee
ally from his past, a severely weakened Wolverine finds himself
Furness, during their courtship back in their native Australia.
battling ninjas, yakuza gangsters and an acid-spewing mutant named Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) to protect his friend’s
“From the moment we met she said, ‘If this is going anywhere,
granddaughter and heir, Mariko (Tao Okamoto).
you gotta know we’re going to live in New York at some point,’ ” Jackman shares.
Back when he was first cast to replace Dougray Scott in 2000’s
Now that four back-to-back films have taken him out of his beloved
“X-Men,” Jackman never pictured himself as the ninja-fighting
adopted hometown, Jackman is eying a break to spend the fall with
type. The then-30-year-old was a virtually unknown starring in a
his son, Oscar Maximillian, and daughter, Ava Eliot.
London production of “Oklahoma!” at the time.
But there’s a dark side that also comes along with the celebrity
Afterward, he went on to use the franchise’s success to claw
he’s built since “X-Men.” In April, a mentally disturbed woman
his way to the top of the Hollywood A-list (Forbes ranks him
named Katherine Thurston accosted Jackman with an electric
as the third-highest-grossing actor in the past 12 months with
razor outside his Greenwich Village gym. The stalker told police she
an estimated $55 million), dominate Broadway (winning a Tony
wanted to marry the star.
Award for 2003’s “The Boy From Oz”) and host the 2009 Academy
Jackman has also had to get used to the throngs of paparazzi
who infest the outside of his
Angry fanboys who
apartment, waiting to snap
pictures of him taking his
Internet chat rooms
children to school. “Here’s
to vent about the
how I think of it,” he explains.
idea of a nobody cast
“If you drive your car every day
as one of the most
to work, you know you’re going
to be in a traffic jam at some
in comicdom now are
point. I just love what I do, I
horrified by the idea
love acting, I love living in the
of him ever exiting the
city, so I put up with it. I just
try to be as Zen about it as
Fortunately for them,
Jackman sounds like
He just wishes they’d leave
someone who’d be
his kids alone: “I made the
up for at least an eighth helping of boiled chicken. “Much like
decision as an adult to become an actor and on some level you’re
golfers are always looking for another hole in one,” he says, “I
stupid if you don’t realize that this comes with it...but my kids didn’t
love this character and I never take for granted the opportunity
ask for it.”
I have to play what I think is one of the cooler, more interesting,
Like any other true New Yorker, he finds the tourists are the ones
multilayered comic book characters.”
who really take him out of his Zen serenity.
“Wolverine” director James Mangold, who first worked with Jackman on the 2001 romantic comedy “Kate & Leopold,” says
“The classic New York comment is, ‘Hey man, how are you? I liked
his star has only gotten better (and better-looking) with age.
your work in that film.’ And then they walk on, it’s cool,” says Jackman. “The problem this time of year and at Christmas is the
“The one thing that hasn’t changed despite the fact that he’s
tourists. I have a funny feeling that to get a photo with a celebrity is
become one of the biggest international movie stars is that
even greater than climbing the Empire State Building. I see people
Hugh’s just the most wonderful, loyal, gracious actor and friend
just behave appallingly. Even if I say, ‘I’m with my family,’ there are
making a film,” says Mangold.
tourists who are like, ‘Uh huh, I don’t care.’”
Jackman’s Hollywood success has also allowed him to fulfill
Still, Jackman will take his inner peace wherever he can get it —
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including in the middle of morning rush hour at Tokyo’s notoriously packed Shinjuku Station, where a short sequence for “The Wolverine” was filmed. While jumping out from behind vending machines to film the scene in the middle of a crowd of unsuspecting Japanese businessmen, Jackman found himself savoring a rare, glorious moment. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Jackman. “Literally a sea of people coming out, and not one stopped and asked for an autograph.” Source: dailynews.com
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20 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
He didn’t always want to be an actor. Jackman earned a degree in communications, with an emphasis on journalism, from the University of Technology in Sydney. It wasn’t until he took a drama theory class in his senior year that he was bit by the acting bug. He later enrolled in the Western Australian Academy of Arts. He always had a soft spot for performing. As a kid, he put on magic shows for his four siblings. We’re sure the experience came in handy for his role in 2006’s “The Prestige.” Another factor in his choice to take on acting was his love for the “Friday the 13th” movies. He told Jay Leno he used to dream of one day playing Jason. Before he became one of Hollywood’s most ruggedly handsome stars he worked as a gas station attendant and a birthday party clown. His childhood was kind of tough. His parents separated when he was eight, and soon after his mom abandoned the family to return to her native England, leaving Jackman’s dad to raise five children alone. The actor broke down in tears when he spoke to “60 Minutes” about the ordeal in 2012. He is quoted as saying he was an “angry kid” and that rugby saved him because it’s just a game of organized violence, after all. Jackman also had a love for something other than rugby as a kid: Olivia Newton John. The “Grease” actress and pop singer was his idol as a child -- he even kept a poster of her under his desk that he would smooch from time to time. He met his wife, Deborah-Lee Furness, on the set of his first ever TV
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Furness suffered two miscarriages before the couple ultimately decided to adopt. They now have two children, Oscar, 13, and Eva, 8. His son knows his dad is awesome and uses it to his advantage. Jackman once told a story about how Oscar picks up girls, saying, “He said to me the other day, ‘Dad, two o’clock, hot chick.’ He walks over, and I heard him say, ‘Hey, my dad’s Wolverine.’ That’s his opening line! He brings them over and asks, ‘Dad, can we have a few autographs for the girls?’ I’m like, ‘Am I pimping for my kids?’” He sings at weddings -- well, at his friends’ weddings. Hugh serenaded Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban during their 2006 nuptials. We all know Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, but the Aussie actor almost took on another iconic character: Bond, James Bond. Jackman was offered the role of 007 in 2006’s “Casino Royale,” but because of scheduling conflicts, Daniel Craig ultimately nabbed the part. Jackman also almost played another infamous character: Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, in 2008’s “The Dark Knight.” He currently holds the record for number of times playing the same character in a movie: Wolverine, seven times. For his most recent stint as the clawed mutant, Jackman told the L.A. Times he stuck to a 6,000 calorie a day diet to bulk up. We all know by now that Hugh is a song and dance man from his role in last year’s “Les Miserables” and his run on Broadway in “The Boy From Oz.” But what’s the one song he could listen to every day for the rest of his life? Jackman says it’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones. Maybe he can play Mick Jagger in a biopic!
gig, an Australian show called “Corelli,” in 1995.
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17 18 19 20
Aside from singing, dancing, and acting Hugh also dabbles in wrestling -- or at least he did in 2011. While promoting his film “Real Steel,” Jackman appeared on WWE Raw and “fought” wrestler Dolph Ziggler. Here’s the video if you don’t believe us.
Way before he stepped into the ring, Jackman practiced his wrestling moves on extras -- sort of. While filming 2004’s “Van Helsing” he accidentally broke an extra’s hand during a stunt gone awry. While he is most known for his tough guy action roles, in 2006 he took on a gentler part when he played Mumble’s (Elijah Wood) father, Memphis, in “Happy Feet.” We gotta say, his Elvis impression is spot-on. He’s so irresistible, women literally stalk him. In April 2013, Katherine Thurston waited outside Jackman’s gym in New York’s Greenwich Village and asked the actor, “We’re getting married, right?” upon seeing him. She then snuck inside and threatened Jackman with an electric shaver before the police were called. She was arraigned the week after and sent to Riker’s Island on $15,000 bail. There’s still no word on whether Hugh accepted the marriage proposal.
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e n i l e O d E A Y 30 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
ER G IN
P I T
UR O L
“I offer my art so that hearts can come alive, for beauty is an expression of the soul. They see it, they touch it, they feel it, they are moved by it. It illuminates, and then it flows within their hearts, which is alive!” Adeline’s art leads you to beautiful, living spaces – a garden, a meadow, a quiet beach, a cottage of love, the smell of the ocean, the sound of water, the touch of wind, the colour
P I R D
of sky; beauty of such magnificence, variety and lavishness, ripe beauty, lush beauty, beauty given to us with such generosity and great abundance. To her, beauty is powerful. It speaks and nourishes. There is room for the soul. Beauty invites; like beautiful music, it captures you, you want to sit down and just drink it all in. Like a secret garden or an enchanted forest, you want to enter in, explore, partake of it, feast upon it. Immensely personal and scripted just for the heart, her artworks are whispers of love, beauty, mystery, desires, awakenings, passion; a radiance that stems from answers to life’s deepest questions. Her art captures a beauty that is captivating and powerfully redemptive. It is with this intimacy that sets Adeline’s art apart. Adeline is one artist that challenges convention. She is probably by far, the only artist who paints blindfolded. The Brew was fortunate enough to have a one-on-one with her during one of her shows.
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 31
When did it all start, your work on art?
general. So, it’s more accessible for everyone attending my show.
It officially started 3 years ago in the year 2010 when I did my first exhibition. Now I’m on my 5th and this one was stage show
Tell us about your book “Viva- Life Illuminated”. It’s basically a coffee table book about my art and poetry. And how
presented by the Lexus Boutique(Singapore).
I use poetry to describe my art. So where did you do your studying? Did you study art as such? I was in the media industry for 10 years and then I gave it all up to
Wow! So you write as well. Is there something that you don’t do?
pursue my dream. In school I did ‘still life’, ‘fashion’ etc, but never
I’m launching my fashion collection this month and I don’t know
with my hands and never with acrylics on a canvas. So I must say its
how that’s going to go. I’m really passionate about my craft and
a blessing from god and a technique I developed by myself.
want it be accessible to more people.
You have done 5 shows till now. All in Singapore ?
What do you consider your specialisation? Do you go with a
Yes, all the 5 shows have been in Singapore and they were all
certain style, do you have a certain form in art that you would
solo-exhibits. I’ve done some charity funding shows with other
like to associate yourself with?
international artists also.
Yes, finger painting is my style and sometimes blindfolded. I always wanted to be different and hence got into finger painting
You are passionate about charity and would like to associate
to set myself apart from other artists. And when I finger paint on
yourself with it?
a canvas, it’s more personal, I’m closer to the canvas and I get
Definitely! I’ve been blessed and I also believe in giving back. So
really into it. I feel, when you touch something, it’s closer to your
most definitely, yes! If something comes my way and if I feel I could
heart, it’s closer to your soul, the distance is reduced, hence finger
fit and if it’s really close to my heart, then I would not mind doing it,
painting. My favourite artist is Coco Chanel, she says that ‘your
I would definitely help out.
passion should challenge convention’, which was what she did. So I decided I should set myself to art and did that with finger painting;
Tell us more about this current exhibition.
and blindfolded, let us just say I wanted to take a leap forward. A
In this exhibition, our beneficial cause is for the SAMH (Singapore
leap of faith. Sometimes you just don’t want to be controlled all the
Association for Mental Health) and is to support the eating-disorder
time, you just want to let go of things. So I’m really astounded by
group. And it’s a women to women campaign but in my speech, I’m
what comes as a result of my blindfolded painting, It’s amazing.
going to be talking about life, not just specific to women, but life in
32 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
VERVE IN MOTION
come home to love
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 34
How has the perception of people been? The response? They are all very excited. People ask me to engage myself in all kinds of events, to launch a product and what not. They kind of want to introduce me as an artist in the process, since they are excited about this new style that I’ve been doing, so its fun! Where do you see your future from here, as in internationally? Are you particularly looking at any collaborations? Markets that you are interested in? I’m definitely going to take my art across countries, to grow my collectors base beyond that of Singapore to an international audience. There are a few key markets but right now I’m just doing what comes my way. And if there is an interesting place where the visibility is going to be larger, then I would definitely do it. Any plans for India? I have been receiving a couple of invitations from Mumbai and some other places, so I have to think about it and what the possibilities are. I definitely would be interested, in fact a lot of DANCING IN THE WIND
my buyers are Indian. They like my colours, my style, the flamboyance, the passion and the energy involved with my paintings, so that’s quite exciting for me. I have a collectors base in Singapore, which I want to grow, so I will definitely be considering the overseas markets.
Interview by Sameer Bharat Ram
GINGER Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 35
36 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
make a difference Young director Nalan Kumaraswamy and Actor Vijay Sethupathy get talking about how they got into Cinema, Soodhu Kavvum and plans for the future.
When everybody is telling you not to do something repeatedly, it makes you want to do it even more. So I went for it.”
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Nalan - We actually go way back and know each other pretty well before this movie itself. We know each other since 2009 and have done a short film together before ‘Soodhu Kavum’. So from the beginning of both our careers, we knew each other. Sameer - Both of you actually come from completely different backgrounds, far from films. Vijay used to be an accountant and Nalan, you were into real estate. So what made you get into the film industry, was it out of your own interest, or was it by accident?? Nalan-I was obviously interested in films all my life, and even if I didn’t get this chance as a director, I would become a script writer. I used to train myself with script writing for a long time. Even now I’m learning and yet to attain the perfection of writing a full script. Sameer - So were you thinking about your future at that point, as in would the film succeed, the monetary issues involved ?? Nalan - It wasn’t exactly a big risk I was taking since, I have a family business, so yes, backup plan is always there. Vijay- It was actually accidental for me. After having worked in Dubai, I came back , and was going to get married. So during that time I had taken some pictures in a studio for the invitation and everything, and it actually looked pretty good. The guy before me had a more expensive shoot, compared to my 500 rupees normal photoshoot. The guy working there also had told me that my pictures look better than his. So I thought I’ll give it a try. And also when everybody is telling you not to do something repeatedly, it makes you want to do it even more. So I went for it. I went for an audition in Thiruvalur for a hero role with my friend Nitin Satya, and he actually did a brilliant job for the role and he got the role. So I had decided that I had to learn more about films and acting. And I’m generally a very reserved person, and don’t move around much. So after my interest into films, I decided that the only way to learn is by meeting more people and moving around. So I created a fake marketing resume and applied for a marketing job, hoping that would give me the exposure I needed. I did that for 2-3 months and that’s when I got an opportunity to work for a film, but they wanted me as
the accountant there also. I didn’t care as long as I was working within the industry, because my interest was growing and I wanted to stay in the film scene. During my time there, I did some street plays too. After I got the role in ‘Pudupettai’ as Dhanush’s friend, my career kicked off. I did this mega serial called ‘Penn’ for Sun TV which was a really big learning experience for me. I played the lead, so I learnt a lot from everybody and how to get comfortable in front of the camera. After ‘Penn’ was done, I got my first hero role offer and I committed. The director was really confident about me although I, at that point, wasn’t even sure if I was hero material. But I committed. SIx months later the film was going to be made in Kannada and the new producer wanted his son as the hero. So they asked me if I could train him for the role. I accepted and went trained him. I was happy that I was doing something for the film. But later they asked me if I could do the villain’s role and accepted. So I ended up playing the villain in that movie. Unfortunately that movie hasn’t released yet. Once I finished that, I got a chance in ‘Vennila Kabbadi Kuzhu’ and there I met Arul Dass(who acts as my brother in Soodhu Kavuum). He recommended me for the hero role in ‘Thenmerku Paruvakaatru’, when they were looking. They had fixed the shooting date and were in a hurry to find the right one for the role but none of the artists were available at the time. So one week before the schedule, Arul Dass introduced me to the director and recommended me for the role. That’s how I got the role, everything happened in a matter of 4 days. Sameer - So everything started after your marriage. How did you handle the risk, since it’s a very uncertain situation when it comes to movies? Vijay - I’ve never lead a completely satisfied life. I have always been in the middle-class category. So I always had that thought to get to the next level and live a luxurious and satisfied life as well. I went to Dubai to make it big, but I realised there is not much growth there due to the Afghan War at the time. Then I got an opportunity in a Slovakian company and they offered me a salary of 1 lakh, because it was a risky job and had many security
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 39
issues. I cleared the first round and the failed the second. Had I been selected that day, I would have gone to Slovakia and my life would have been entirely different. So failures weren’t new to me and the only thing I decided when I was taking this risk was that, what ever be it, I will try for 5 years, will not give up half way. If it doesn’t work out for me after that , I’ll leave the industry. That was the plan. My friends and family were completely against this decision, of course. Can’t really blame them because it’s not like being an actor was my childhood ambition or I was really into it or anything like that. I was pretty normal guy. In these 5 years I’ve learnt a lot of things. I developed grey hair during my 20s itself, it’s genetic for me. So everybody in the family were very confused about why I was still wasting time in films. But then I didn’t know I was good enough for cinema, but now I know for sure that I am.
is what I wanted and that I have never shined at anything like I’ve shined here.
So I’ll never leave this field. In 2009 I did some dubbing work also. So even if I don’t make it in acting, I can at least dub and contribute to cinema. I was very interested in short films also. I was very intrigued by the fact that anybody can become a hero in a short film. Even before meeting Nalan, I had auditioned for many short films. That didn’t work, and dubbing also didn’t , so acting it is!
Sameer - Nalan, was it the same situation with your family and friends? Were they also initially against it? Nalan - For me it wasn’t that much because they started seeing me on TV and they knew I was doing something good and have talent. And even before they could start complaining, I got to Tv, so I didn’t give them any time to complain. My family knew that this 40 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
Vijay - I always wanted to work with Nalan, but never actually got a chance. We used to discuss about scripts all the time. Nalan’s favourite actor is Karuna. His face fits perfectly with every character.Basically, Nalan’s scripts are in such a way that even if the actors make a mistake, it will not show, because it will be content-driven. The audience will keep track and will keep following the content. Even during shoot, he doesn’t find or point out a lot of mistakes as such, we just do it normally, our shoots very pretty casual and comfortable and it works! Sameer - So Nalan, is that your style of working?? Or how do you
Nalan - Yes, appearance wise I tell them how I want them to look, give them a few suggestions maybe. The rest they will fall in place. For instance, for Soodhu Kavuum, Vijay’s character had to be a 40 year old. It was mentioned in the script. Vijay had just finished playing a youngster in ‘Pizza’ so I had told him to put on some weight to pull off a 40 year old. Initially that is why Vijay wasn’t chosen for that character, because of the age. Then everybody knew that he had the interest in him and that it will yield some good results. Instead of giving the job to somebody completely new, rather give it to a person who is close to the script and who can adapt and relate to the character easier.So i had told him to put on as much as weight possible to pull off the role. And he had
a fun time making sure he did. He always believed in me, so it was all good. Even his oiled up hair in the movie was done by him. I didn’t even have to mention the little details like these. Sameer - Your first movie ‘Thenmerku Paruvakaatru’ was by chance, but after that, your choice of films, intentionally or unintentionally, seem like they have a particular pattern. Like how Aamir does it in bollywood. Your choice of films have been unique, and you involve more with the films, kind of? Vijay - I do get involved with the script, but not to the extent of saying I would not do a film if the changes I suggest were’ t adapted. Even with Soodhu Kavum, it wasn’t that Nalan was directing, he gave me the script and I genuinely enjoyed it. Sameer - Nalan, did you have Vijay in mind when you were writing the script? Because from the audience point of view, it seems so.. Nalan - No, I did not write that role for him, exactly. It just happened. Arul, who plays his brother in the movie was also selected for the role because Vijay could visualise only Arul for that character while reading the script. Vijay - We are in no state to correct script writers because their work would itself be perfect. So any suggestions or clarifications can be made on a very friendly level. Nothing more than that. Not required. Nalan - I have a group of 10 selected people from the industry who I believe in and ask for opinions, Vijay is one of them. Even if Vijay is not part of my next movie, I would definitely give him my script and ask him to read it and give me suggestions. I need opinions because some of them will make sense and might actually help me in the process. That form of discussion is always good. Vijay - In this industry it is very hard to know what film is going to run and what isn’t, you can’t confidently say; so the film I do are
just scripts that I like, it is just my personal opinion. The thought is “Would I watch this movie?” For example, there was a guy who worked on Pizza who’s script I listened to although he and I both know I didn’t have the dates for it, I listened to the script just because I like listening to stories. Something like experience, or who a person has worked with, whether a person has done any work before is not important, it’s just interest, learning and knowledge about cinema. Sameer - You both started fairly late in the industry, but over the time you have been a part of Tamil cinema you have broken a lot of rules, be it acting or direction, literally changed a lot of conventions. How do people from the industry appreciate you? Nalan - We have been received even better than we had perceived that we would be. People appreciate us more than we actually deserve, we’ve been told by reporters that whenever they ask about the film they get an amazing response, even from our seniors. It’s overwhelming. Sameer - What was you starting point in the story, what did you want to convey with the film? Nalan - The idea was just to say that evil does not always fail. The end was fixed, that was the first real idea but I didn’t want the film to be preaching anything so beyond that I was writing the story without thinking too much about the political part of it. Sameer - There is a new trend of actors and directors starting production houses and producing their own films. Do either of you also have this though? Vijay - I have started “Vijay Sethupathi Productions”, we have started working on three films right now. People talk about how experimental my films are but the biggest things is that someone with my background, an accountant becoming something in this industry is a big experiment. If not for this I would’ve been nothing but now I have my bread and butter. The fact that my films have Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 41
been a success does not me I can consider myself above every other film. I have to go on to do the next film to survive and after a point I can’t hold on to the success of my past. The reason Soodhu Kavum was so good is because the entire cast and crew came together amazingly and everybody was doing work beyond their abilities. Sameer - I heard that Sanchitha was a late addition to the film, was her character originally in the script? Nalan - When we first thought of the line for the movie her character was not a part of it, but we realised that it was too much of a male dominated film, it was like reading a male magazine. The idea for her character had been there earlier so I picked it up and started working on making a female role in the film, I didn’t want it to just be a female character for the sake of it, the part had to make sense. Sujatha, my favourite writer’s heroines were the inspiration behind “Shallu”. Sameer - Do you have any inspirations as an actor? Vijay - No inspiration, I just learnt from a lot of the people that I have worked with. Other artists around me have taught me. I like a lot of people’s work but I can not say they are an inspiration, I will never try to imitate them or anything of that sort. I do try to imitate photographs and when I read a story somewhere I will try to think of how I could portray a certain character from the story, just for the heck of it. I guess it helped me somewhere. Nalan - There is a great star following in the industry so if we actually try to imitate them or are inspired by them in that sense it just makes our job harder. Unknowingly sometimes you will imitate one of them, different people should be different people. Vijay - I never try to practice and imitate body language, I just look at the attitude, everything else will come naturally if you look at the attitude. Things like heroism are not something an actor should work on, to me, it is a part of the story, it is in the script. There isn’t a fight scene or a emotional scene in Soodhu Kavum but you still got the feel of a hero from a man who kidnapps people for money, it’s just about how the character is written and portrayed beyond anything else.
42 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
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10 YEARS ON “STAGE” WITH EVAM - karthik kumar
I’ve not made money out of my film career. My film career has been a glorious passion outlet. My core life comes from performing arts”
Karthik, 10 years of Evam, what’s the feeling? I think we’ve been so busy in the journey so far. It’s taken us awhile for us to actually realise that in the last 3 – 4 years we’ve been mind-blowingly serious about this journey, because of the fact that its no longer a struggle for survival for us. Its been a struggle for glory. Again all this pertains to the fact that we’re a lot surer and less anxious about permanency. We know that there is a glorious path in the arts and we see it in front of us. I just want to be able to make sure that as many young people in my country are able to see it as well. It will pave the way for this generation and the next generations’ artists, it could be live musicians, it could be visual artists, it could be performance artists. All these people are able to see a glorious future in just practicing their art forms and that hasn’t existed in the country for a while and we’re a young country, we’re a 60 odd year old country. Therefore, the protection of the cultural art forms is not a priority according to the government because of which it has to become priority to the artists. For them, if they can see Evam as a symptom of optimism, positivity and just the possibility that such a thing can exist. We hope to be contagious enough to spring off another 100 evams, in different names and different forms. Between 2003 and now what do you see has changed in the whole atmosphere around you, the people around you, acceptance, everything.
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Do you see a positive change or it’s still the same struggle?
will have magnificent artistic dialogues happening in our country,
No, I think there are a lot more serious people discussing
through these Infotech campuses.
partnerships and possibilities with us, so whether it is an UK
Do you see yourself, because we’ve being seeing you in the past
arts council discussing funding opportunities for an India-UK
10 years, being one of the catalysts to actually bring about what
collaboration or if it’s a rational investor who wants to invest in
ever little change at least in this city. Where theatre was being
arts based methodologies into corporate training, or whether it is
forgotten, it was in those niche pockets here and there. In the last
somebody who is saying, “I’m a builder, I’m building an apartment
10 years, there are a lot of newer, young theatre groups. Well, I
complex. I want to also create a performance arts facility because
don’t know whether they are long term or whether they are just
the children of that entire 5 kilometre radius will use this as an arts
going to be a hobby, but at least there is something happening to
education space or for performance.” All of that. The arts is now
keep the whole fight going. Do you see yourself as somebody who
becoming viable in various indirect ways. 10 years back, the most
has driven this whole thing?
banal discussion used to be going to a sponsor and saying, “Please,
I wouldn’t like to say, “Yes, we have been the single, determinant
fund my play.” from there, to today’s scene, all these possibilities
capitalists.” but the very act of being or wanting to be capitalists
that have indirectly come up for the arts. I think indirectly people
without having to be acknowledged as capitalists has always been
are funding the arts, and there are indirectly many options in which
there. We always said that Evam will be glorious only if we can
the arts can get funded. I think a sea of change has happened in
spring off 100 “Evam”s, in the term of our existence. Do we market
like Chennai, or
we operate very
unchanged is the
scarcity of venues,
for a lot of young
art venues, which
hallmark of Europe
every little venue,
even the smallest
venue will look regal
happening of it.
and royal and there
are the these
will be something magnificent about it. I think that is severely
groups will survive to see a longer term will be determined by
lacking in the country and that’s an infrastructure problem but
their existence and their glory today. Today, it is important for a
infrastructure is the problem that my country faces anyway so I
slightly more senior organisation like Evam to celebrate and share
don’t blame them for not building magnificent auditoriums. The
that glory with them. It is not in seeing them as competition or
auditoriums that exist today do not have a mind set to be able
seeing them as “Ah, they’re tomorrow’s Evam.” no, they’re not. We
to be exhibitors of performing arts. I think you’ll find everybody
are existent and we will be existing for ever and it is our duty to
from Mallika Sarabhai to T.M Krishna complaining today about
create an eco-system while they also, they have a less difficult time
poor quality of our auditoriums. If the answer to this is that we
than we had 10 years back. We need to be the ambassadors for
as performing artists build auditoriums for the next generations,
the performing arts as an art form and as a business at all points
that will be very difficult for us to do. All of us find it difficult to
of time. I think Chennai today is no longer seen as that back end
buy ourselves a flat and live in our own flat within our life time. I
where only amateur theatre forms exist. Evam is opening the NCPA
think people in real estate have to be able to see value in creating
centre stage festival next month, it is the first company that has
auditoriums that are fabulous for performance. Today, ironically the
done a 25 show run at the Enberra Finch and its ironic a Chennai
best performance venues are in Infosys and Cognizant campuses.
based company that has done it. It would have been very shocking
Where they do webcam talks with their CEOs and talks. That’s what
or impossible for us to imagine that 10 years back. People would
the auditoriums are used for, but they are the best auditoriums in
have said, “Ah, the first group who would have done it would have
the country. I wish they open that up for performing arts and you
been a Bombay troupe or a Delhi troupe.” It hasn’t been, its been a
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 45
Chennai group; but at the same time, we don’t want Chennai groups
Singapore soon. It’s seen as part of the hub and has probably gotten
to see themselves as Chennai groups. We want them to create an
as much importance as Bangalore used to have. Second is that
artistic dialogue with groups in Bombay and Delhi because all of us
somewhere Evam, wherever we travel, whether we perform we’re
have similar problems maybe on different scales, but the artistic
quite prolific across Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore. The fact that
community of the country today is one. If we are going to create
we’re a Chennai based group keeps coming back to us. Even today
fraternization activities for the community in the country today, it
when we go to Singapore and perform autonomously, we have a
is needed and even an idea like the metroplus theatre festival, it
Singapore branch and company. We’re one of the first Indian theatre
started off in Chennai 8 seasons back as being a Chennai Theatre
groups that set up a company there. We’re not there on somebody’s
festival. Today it is in 5 cities and it sees the best performers right
invitation to come and perform one show. We are a theatre group
from a local mime troupe in Chennai to a US troupe that comes
of autonomous repute in Singapore. For a Chennai group to have
down because we are able to fund it. It sees the best of Delhi
done it; winning 9 Meta nominations, winning 2 of them. Chennai
and Bombay troupes as well coming together. Metroplus theatre
is no longer going to have to struggle for recognition. I think we’re
festival, today in India is the largest English theatre festival. There
a part of the mainstream today. It is up to the performance of the
is no English theatre festival that is bigger than this. The franchise
Chennai based groups to be able to show themselves in a fabulous
is going to move to Singapore and Dubai in the upcoming years.
light. It is a levelled playing field. The world is our oyster right now.
The Metroplus theatre festival has been an opportunity for bring own troupes and creating an opportunity for collaborations. I think
One thing that is worrisome that I see everyday, in every
we are more of a single community today than we have ever been.
performance art, is that the audience is not willing to pay a ticket
Therefore, in this process I can’t see myself as being one of the
of 100 to 200 rupees to watch a play. Why is that an issue? People
capitalists who created another five young groups. No, we’re just
are willing to go to the movies and pay a minimum of 500 rupees
a symptom that says that things are good in the performing arts.
to watch a movie plus the extra add ons which come with it. Why
You can make a living out of it. You don’t have to make a struggling
is it a problem to pay to watch a film at the Alliance Francaise?
living out of it, you can make a glorious living out of it. Glory is
Will that change? Is that changing?
achieved when your needs are very limited and you’re realistic. You
I think that will change with the right packaging at the end of
know you can’t buy a Jaguar and own 2 properties on the ECR doing
the day, it requires many people like you. A magazine like yours.
performing arts. On the other hand you can live a handsome life
It would require multiple producers who are also thinking of
and very comfortably and you will probably be in the middle and
performing arts as a packageable medium. Today the worth of
upper middle class strata in society and if I gave that option to any
the performing arts is incredibly high because when packaged it
artist in the world, he would wonder, “will I have enough comfort
can be mind blowing. Imagine if I were to say, “Why is Bombay
to practice my art?” Yes. “Will I be periodically thriving also?” Yes,
Jayashri singing in music academy in December? Why doesn’t the
you will be thriving. Not to mention, you will never have to spend
producer see the possibility of putting her on the mandapam of
out of your pocket and eat into your savings and die a pauper. I
kapaleeswarar temple and the performance happens there and
think that tragic notion of an artist has to and is dying very soon.
only 500 people are allowed to watch it and 500 have to pay 10000
Ironically, even though I’ve have a film career for the last 13 years,
rupees to watch it. There are buyers today at 10,000 rupees, it is
I’ve not made money out of my film career. My film career has been
about making sure that the platform and the opportunity is created
a glorious passionate outlet. My core life comes from performing
because the live arts has something that cinema can never have.
Cinema can be consumed on your mobile phone but the live arts falls back on the ambience, on that moment which is unmissable.
Coming to this whole Chennai group versus the rest, is there a
Even today people celebrate saying, ”I watched Michael Jackson
perception issue that really exists even in the industry, is there
live in Wembley”. That is precious. They continue buying CDs of
a comparison, or is Chennai looked in as relatively new or an
Michael Jackson and watch him on MTV. It is about creating the
amateur when it comes to performing arts?
Wembley ambience. Behind mind blowing artists like Bombay
That would have been the perception 10 years back, I think the
Jayashri or the simplest artists. Today, making sure that a young
perception still exists but its very fast vanquishing perception
rock group, we were performing at the Emberra finch with Thermal
because there are multiple symptoms, there are multiple reasons
And A Quarter, they are creating that opportunity for themselves.
why that perception will vanquish very soon. One is that, the
They are playing an Ireland plus UK tour and then coming back
Metroplus theatre festival having its base in Chennai, and still
here and making sure that they get better deals with venues so
growing to 5 cities across the country and probably going to
that they can present themselves with pride. It’s about making sure
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that everybody understands that its not just the performance, its
an option as a career and choose to invest their first few years at
also the ambiance of consumption which an audience is willing
Evam which is such a turn, to think, that young people think of this
to pay for. So today this booking an auditorium and doing a play
as a career alternative as opposed to just saying, lets just have a
has to change because today its not about watching any movie in
fleeting relationship with the performing arts and then I’ll take up a
a dark hole. Its about watching a movie in Satyam Cinemas, seats
serious job later. This is the serious job. At the end of the day you’ve
are plush and popcorn comes to you, it’s the entire package they’re
found the right people, you’ve stuck by the right people, the right
paying for. It is probably time for us to present ourselves, keeping in
people have stuck by us, the wrong people could have destroyed us
mind that the audience is willing to pay for a fabulous, memorable
slice of time. Imagine if Coke Studio became a live property and 200 people were inside watching that performance happen, and it
How far do you think you’ve gone in that vision what you believe
was being televised. Those 200 people will pay 10,000 bucks. It’s
about packaging. Today whether it is West End or Broadway, in
I think the first vision we had was to survive, survive gloriously not
London or New York, it survives on magnificent producers being
survive and make sure we never say that we made a compromise
able to see opportunities. How do you create a play and what kind
because we are doing something we love we are doing something
of run, internationally, can it have? Its about the showcasing of it,
we love and we are glorious at it and we make a great living out of
not just the one single performance. Today we say we’re going to
it. That was the vision we had until probably the last five six years.
do one show, in that one show, we should get all the money, it’s
In the last three four years and the next three I think the vision was
not possible. You have to create a run for it. Create a setting for it,
to bring India into some kind of a international reckoning, that’s
so it requires great presenters who understand the arts and the
something we want to do and the ultimate ambition right now is to
business of it who are not seduced by the business of it and are not
get art education into schools as a mandatory part of curriculum
disrespectful of the arts.
over the next few years and no longer see arts curriculum being delivered by english teachers and instead have drama, and Music
What about your support system in Evam?
teachers in schools. Have drama and performing arts as a course
Oh, I think my first marriage was to, before I married Suchi, was
within curriculums and also probably be able to create a chain of
Sunil. Sunil was always my first life partner because he completely
black box theatres across the marquee cities in the country where,
understands my little company, and my little corporate was
at least in these theatres art should be seen as when it is there, so
completely dependent on the understanding between the two of us
these are all 150 to 200 seaters and to be able to create that chain
the trust that we need to not even dialogue or negotiation, if he
in the next six seven years will be a humongous project which will
made a decision I was sure of it; and on the off chance that I wasn’t
take a lot of time because we cannot afford to own these venues but
I would just say, “ you made the decision and can you explain it to
we need to find the right partners, we are in sync in achieving these
me”. I think its that unchangeable relationship magic between us
but this is what we are hungry for right now.
that keeps this company happy and content. Over and above that I think it’s three other people in my company, Pavithra, Bhargav
What’s the next big thing for Evam in terms of production?
and Deepak. Deepak keeps the financial stability in my company,
Well we are actually fully produced right now for the next year and
Pavithra is the operations stability, she makes sense of the
a half so, Alvigi, which is our political thriller that premiered at
hundred things that are happening in the country and streamlines
the Edinburgh Theatre Festival does full blown UK tour based on
them and apportions the right resources into the right projects,
reviews and requests that have come in after this, so we’re doing
and Bhargav is probably the youngest creative helm for our future,
a full blown UK tour in second half of 2014, we’ll probably be doing
so I think it’s these three people who have stuck by through the
a Austria and New Zealand tour in 2015, all this has gotten booked
toughest times in the last five years. There have been points where
based on our run right now so internationally what happens is all
we have literally sunk because of minor small bad decisions and it
tours get booked about a year and half or year in advance at least.
was, when something like recession happens in a country imagine
Bollywoodkheema, which is to be our summer blockbuster which
how a little performing arts enterprise will get affected by it but
is where leave your brains at home comedy right from the time of
we have seen through all those times and today, no longer will we
Monty Python we did ten years back to now we always have that
worry every about survival or paying twelve employees, its about
fun comedy that we release, so that format this year has seen a
make sure its glorious and we have twelve employees across three
UK director come down and create something very clever but at
branches here, Chennai, Bangalore and Singapore so its these
the same time fun enough that you can enjoy it in the way people
people, it’s these youngsters who still think that performing arts is
leave their brains behind and watch on christmas so that way also
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 49
“Art was born with me” Master artist Alphonso Arul Doss speaks to Karthik Kumar on his colourful journey with art.
50 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
Karthik: Sir, it’s a great pleasure to have you with us. Can you
thing available can be used for something or the other. Instead
please tell us something on how you feel art is involved with your
of depending on the Government for providing us with various
opportunities, we can simply use whatever resources we have at our disposal. Who knows someday it might turn up something
Alphonso: Art was born with me, I can say. I was born with certain
big in your life. Likewise if I start telling about my experiences
artistic features such as my eyes, for example. I used to catch the
in life I can keep on talking. I always feel that being to Madras is
colour of an object before analyzing it. People always found this
always like being to heaven. I wouldn’t have fit anywhere else other
habit of mine to be funny. At times they even made me feel so.
than being an artist. My dad wanted me to take literature and my
In fact you won’t believe, I used to explain to my mother how the
mother always wanted me to become a priest since we didn’t have
coolie people maintain their body. It is so fantastic that they have
anyone from our family to that service. But I told my mother that
a proper muscular anatomy giving an extraordinary perfection. I
if you force me, I will run away from the house and go somewhere
used to also observe all the activities those laborers do while doing
else (Laughs). My mother always used to tease me saying that if I
the constructional activities, right from carrying sand to bricks.
become an artist, I will have to carry a bag on my shoulder, have
Bangalore is another place where I love sitting on the lawns and
a funny beard and wear other complicated outfits. But I was very
sketching the gardens. Once I was sitting in a garden there and
strong about my decision. I think you can make a film with whatever
I was trying to mix colors in such a way that they look exactly the
I said till now and can title it as “Life of an Artist” (Laughs).
same color as I was observing on a tree bark. But I couldn’t come up
Another thing which I wanted to share with you is the way how
with the perfect color mix. I was very disappointed and immediately
Michael Angelo creates his art work. He wouldn’t even stop for his
went to my art master and told him. He advised me to join “Madras
meal while at work. He will be so much into his work and I am
Art School” and gain more knowledge and perfection. That was the
always inspired with the way he analyses art. When I was 35 years
first time I heard about Madras Art School. My dad encouraged me
of age, I went to Italy for his art exhibition which was very old. I
a lot even though he was not in a very good financial condition to
carried a magnifying lens along with me which helped me in going
educate all six of us. Apart from drawing, I had a big interest in
and understanding tiny minute creativities and textures inside a
singing. I used to sing for choir which was in Latin in our church on
big art work. Such a wonderful creator he is. I have almost seen
every Sundays when we went there. Also the climate in Bangalore
all forms of artworks, including cave paintings. Cave paintings are
was mind blowing at that time. Me and my friends roamed around
done almost thirty thousand years ago. So you can imagine how
places on weekends and kept on observing all the activities that are
detailed it would be.
happening out there in different places. Above all, when I went to Bangalore I got to meet Mr. Roy Choudary whom I can refer to as
Karthik: Sir, you said you got a scholarship from the Government.
“The King”. I was deeply inspired by his creativity. In the meantime,
Can you tell us how motivational it was for your career?
my dad was finding it difficult to provide financial help for my studies and he asked me to come back after completing my “Diploma in
Alphonso: It was definitely a very good opportunity for me. Actually
Fine Arts”. I studied 3 years in Advanced Painting. Luck favored me
Mr. Panicker, who was a member of Central Academy Committee
that time by providing a scholarship from the cultural department,
asked me to apply for the scholarship. I, along with six of my friends,
Government of India. They offered me Rs. 250 per month. At the
applied for it and to our surprise all six of us got the scholarship
time, my teachers were getting Rs. 175 per month(laughs). I was
and it was published in The Indian Express Newsletter. The
getting enough money, materials for art and they even let me travel
scholarship gave us an open freedom to experiment with various
to places around India, visiting and participating in various art
materials whichever we liked. I had an opportunity to develop my
exhibitions. At that time I had planned to go abroad for a research
passion towards oil painting. We bought foreign colours, canvases
on music and I achieved it, after a whole stretch of 20 years. That
and other branded coating materials and experimented on various
was because, in those times going to Bombay was itself a big task
things. During college days we used to go by 8 Am even though
for many. My teachers motivated me in many ways. They helped me
our classes started from 10:00 Am. In between, we will have a cup
in framing my artworks for exhibitions and they guided me in all
of tea as refreshment and start our work again. The college has a
possible ways they could. Later I came to know about oil painting.
very good environment which made us do our studies in a better
For reference purposes, my teachers asked me to take examples
manner. The silence and the quiet there helped us concentrate
from the ancient Ajanta and The Ellora caves.
more on our work. I was also inspired and in fact learned water
I have learned one simple thing from my life. We should never
coloring from the great artist Mr. Ramagopal. He taught me how
come up with excuses like lack of resources. Each and every
to blend the colors without giving more depth and I still remember
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 51
that. He was very advanced and I realized this when I went to the USA. The trend was equally matched and this made me feel proud to be an artist from India. I feel that the only Indian artist who can actually match the European artists, is Mr. Santhana Raj. I just admire him a lot. But now days I feel that, technology has overtaken the freedom of doing experiments with art for students. Digital paintings using Ipads and other gadgets has become like a trend among the current generation. In 1957, when I joined my college, even a television set was not there. For more than ten years after that , television was not invented. People were using typewriters. There were a lot of changes in the educational strategies; art was given more importance in the past. Mr. Roy Choudry helped us raise funds for the art materials for the students. Mr.Panicker arranged an educational tour for us, all over India, which gave us great knowledge about the art works. Art is a part of our life. We saw the beautiful collections of Mr.Bruce Foote in Madras Museum. The seals of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa sculptures. India is one of the most remarkable places on earth. Enjoy the sculpture and the people. I suggest students not to follow the western art. I searched enough for the change, Mr.Paniker and others helped me out , then I analyzed the judgment of line quality . What is art? Who made it? Cave men were working and the first art they made for cutting etc., the sculptures made by them cannot be done by anyone now. Our ancestors were a very creative bunch of people. My parents were worried seeing me spend all my money for art. But still I didn’t give up, art is not about money. It’s a beautiful and creative thing of a person. Einstein was not let to teach in the Princeton University because he didn’t have a degree. HOD of the university made a lab for him where he invented things. The ‘Monaa’ group went out of the studio and started drawing the sky and the climatic change. Everyone says that, we have to achieve something. What should I achieve I thought. Then I found out its Art. ‘Lust for Life’ and ‘Agony and the Ecstasy’ which portrays Michelangelo’s character, are the movies which inspired me a lot and in fact I strongly recommend everybody to watch them. Me, Vishwanathan, Vasudevan, Sadanandan and few of our friends watched this movie together in Sapphire theatre and I still remember that very well. I cherish those experiences still in my life. After roaming all around India I tried moving abroad. I tried for scholarships but I could not get through. So I wrote a letter to my friend who is a scientist in The University of Birmingham and he made a professor from the Art department to invite me there. The craziest part was after buying the air tickets to USA, I hardly had hundred dollars with me which I again had to spend for bus fares and other expenses to reach the University. They gave me hostel accommodation in art department and also provided food for free. On weekends I was free to go to visit all the museums in and 52 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
around the place. I had a very big desire to visit the museum which
“International Visitors Program”.
was at Los Angeles. My professor bought me the ticket and gave me
For 21 days I was allowed to travel along the eastern coast,
some money for my expenses and asked me to have a visit. Nobody
provided with all allowances including hotel stay and food.
would be lucky enough to get such an opportunity at that time and I felt very happy about that.
Karthik: When did this happen Sir?
Karthik: How long were you there in the USA? How old were you
Alphonso: This happened in 1983. I would also like to tell you that
I was an active member of Ancient Christian Art Association. It is not an artist’s association whereas it was formed for conducting
researches on Christian Art.
The first time when I went there, I spent around three solid months. That was more of an internship which I underwent. I started teaching
Karthik: How did art get related to politics?
few students there. I went there when I was 28 years of age. Alphons: At a point of time, Dr.Karunanithi started wondering Karthik: You mean to say that you started teaching students when
where the modern art is going and that people should only learn
you were only 28 years of age? That’s great!
what they need. He was also more involved in poetry and movie songs. He also produced three movies. I don’t really understand
Alphonso: The main mistake I did was that I didn’t write to the
why such a great man was indirectly crushing the field of visual
Government to get permission to work there, so I had to come back
art! Including people like Mahatma Gandhi, in fact any leader
and later I was put in a situation to answer our Government on what
would have fought for our freedom but they never decided to
happened exactly and I tried making them understand the value of
preach or talk about visual art to the people. Tourists come down
the opportunity, which was really very rare and that anybody can get
to India for what? To see the art, the music, the paintings, the
that easily. I showed them all the photographs that I took and even
Ajantha and Ellora, the Brahadeeshwara temple, the fine works
told them that these would serve as the key reference for students to
of our artists and architects. Not for our technology. American
learn paintings. This impressed them a lot. They immediately moved
technology and the European technology are a lot advanced than
my file and let me teach the students here. I walked out of the room
ours. At least the old poems during the times of Kannagi and
very happy and seeing this many people were in fact shocked, since
Kovalan, written in ancient Tamil, our old Indian paintings, our
they were expecting me to get dismissed from the college.
miniature paintings should be preserved in the museum. The
The second time I was invited to USA through a program called
Government never sanctions money for it. With great difficulty
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 53
I got two lakhs for an art cause. Everybody asked me how I got two lakhs from the government. And finally some rivals took away those paintings. And I don’t know where those paintings are now. Everyone asked me about my paintings that depict the south Indian culture. I had so much stuff to start a heritage center in fact. Showing our culture, the culture of people in Tamil Nadu and bringing the whole world here to learn about our ancient culture. But I could never get it done and I feel very sad for it. Similarly, all our rich ancient cultures were destroyed. Fortunately we still have our Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar and a few more that the Government has taken a little interest in preserving. I would be very proud to talk about Egypt. Everywhere in Egypt, there is Egyptian art. The Railway station, buildings all have copies of their original art forms. But I don’t know why it is so bad here. Today, we sometimes feel alienated to our own ancient cultures. Karthik: You spoke about technology. The technology has developed, yes. Artists have more access to technology. Do you think it is really useful, or does it inhabit curiosity? Alphonso: Technology can be used in art. People think that now since there is camera there is no need for artists. Anything can be captured in a camera and it can be made to look artistic. So basically, the importance of an artist is lost. It is basically a limitation, I think. The limitations that are there in old paintings, the limitations of a gramophone etc; people went for radio, television and other devices that had no such limitations of an old artistic gramophone. Technology has a lot of advantages but it has also affected the ability of one’s self to explore their creative boundaries. I have photographed people and have also painted them. I have painted many models in many of my art classes, using various methods like water color, oil painting, tempera painting and have also explored how to compose the colors for each part of the painting. Perhaps, it was because we did not have any advanced technology then, we actually had to paint a lot. I am talking about 50 years back. And I think if I were a youngster now, I wouldn’t really prefer these forms of art using technology. During the times of Sir.C.Ramanujam, people used a lot of proverbs (‘Thathuvams’). There was a community that listened to these entertaining proverbs. Today even if we talk in such funny anecdotes, people might just salute you and walk away. They all have better things to do. People have changed and that’s how modern art even came into existence. Karthik: In your life, in your career, has the reason for creation changed? Reason for your art changed? Have you done paintings based on various reasons? Alphonso: Definitely, many things have changed in my life. A child makes use of the things around it. It learns how to draw by looking
54 | SEPTEMBER 2013 | Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew
at the objects around it. We always keep learning something from
because he is an open critic. He boldly criticizes society, individuals
the things around us. This is my philosophy. We can use the old
and religion. But Shivaji Ganeshen was different. The reason as
ideas, but we should not copy them. The artistic impulse and the
to why I feel that Madras is so culturally rich is because of the
creative work should reflect the current environment and society. It
artists, visual media, cinema, music, dance and philosophy here.
would’ve been entirely different if I was explaining the same to an
Everything has lived here.
American guy. They would analyze me more because they aren’t exactly used to me. They see my face and my skin color. There was
Karthik: We all know about the movie ‘Parashakthi’. It was the first
this one time when a young Chinese kid who wouldn’t stop staring
film to be banned in India by the government. And the chief minister
at my face; wondering how different we look from them. What I have
then, Dr.Rajagopalachari revoked the ban and went against the
analyzed is that, the paintings in China look just like the Chinese
whole thing and released it.
people and they all depict there ancient culture. The Japanese paintings were very much related to their styles and culture. Even cave paintings. They define their culture. A spear being thrown at a bull, talks about what they were actually doing at the time. When you look at art from this angle, it is just what we see and do today. What we see around us and what we do to make ourselves happy is always the highlight of all my paintings. Some people like it and some don’t. And fortunately, my paintings are well respected. I actually displayed my paintings at 2 exhibitions in Korea. They were sponsored by the Korean International Art Organization and they spent more than 25 lakhs on the show. I was there for 20 days. The money they spent on an artist, their travel, hotel expenses, comfort, everything showed the people’s dedication towards art and preserving art forms. I really appreciate their interest towards art. It is all about orientations. Why did I meet you today? What did I learn from the people I meet? I always like meeting new people. In fact I am a great lover of meeting different people and talking to them. Today it has been very difficult to see art as art. We sing and we sell paintings to earn money, to sustain in this expensive world. This is how it has changed. Food, shelter and clothes demand a lot of money. Today many artists have mind blowing talents. But no background, no standard job. This adds as a huge disadvantage for the entire field of arts. Art is not so simple. During the times of Satyajitray, people wondered why his movies were so slow. In fact, Vimal Roy even asked me why I was so slow. I just said that I am not a ‘race horse’(*chuckles*). I can even say that our Madras films were in fact some of the best in the world during those times. Not now though. We can barely
Alphonso: ‘Parashakthi’ is a wonderful movie. It had very good
watch few films these days. But nothing can be done about that.
picturisation, acting and finally, Dr.Karunanithi’s writings. Dr.
This is what people like today. Lot of politics involved. All movies
Karunanithi was a social reformer, a politician and a play writer. We
are politics oriented and not aesthetics oriented like those days. My
could’ve seen the better of him if we had him stuck to the creative
friend used to talk a lot about M.R.Radha because his normal walk
side, but unfortunately we lost him to politics.
itself appears to be like he is acting. Karthik: It was a great pleaure having this conversation with you Karthik: Dramatic!
Sir, I feel so inspired! Thank You!
Alphonso: Yes! Very dramatic indeed! He doesn’t act exactly, but his whole life was an act. In the open, people don’t really like him
Cinema, Music & Art with the Brew | SEPTEMBER 2013 | 55