I make films to express myself, not offend anyone: director Vetri Maaran

Shubha Dubey

Panaji, Nov 21 (PTI) Cinema is a tool of expression for multiple National Award-winning Tamil filmmaker Vetri Maaran, and while his films maybe a critique on the sociopolitical structure of the society, the director on Thursday said his work is never driven by agenda.

Maaran, who made his feature directorial debut in 2007 with 'Polladhavan', has established himself as one of the most relevant and riveting filmmakers from the south, courtesy his collaborations with Dhanush and powerful stories such as 'Aadukalam', India's official entry to Oscars 2017 'Visaranai' and his latest, 'Asuran'.

'I'm here to express myself and in putting forth my point. I don't want to offend anyone. As a filmmaker, I think I have a responsibility in throwing light on something I feel concerned or bothered about. But at the same time, I don't want to feel bad or threatened.

'I don't want to put anybody in bad light. I don't want to question the system or be harsh in my criticism,' the director said during a session at the ongoing 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

He added that if any section of the society feels 'hurt' by his point of view, he never shies away from taking responsibility.

'Cinema is the medium of storytelling and I'm giving critique on the society and the system I live in through it. On that level, I take full responsibility of whatever comes out in the final product. If someone is upset about it, I'm answerable to them and I decide how to deal with the situation.' Maaran is known for a chaotic and somewhat cruel style of storytelling and the director said he is influenced by his mentor, celebrated director Balu Mahendra, and the Latin American cinema of the late 1990s or 2000s.

However, the 44-year-old director believes violence is an innate quality and holding western cinema responsible for motivating Indian filmmakers to depict it is unfair.

'Violence in our cinema is not from the West. Violence starts with the origin of us. Violence is in all our literature and epics. Violence and sex is there in our literature. Everybody has a different way of expressing themselves on the same topic and, violence is one of them,' he said.

'I'm highly influenced by Latin American cinema of late '90s and early 2000s and initially I was influenced a lot by those films.

'But then I decided to find my own voice, my own language. It's a journey, maybe I will evolve into some other person. But you cannot change your vocabulary,' he added.

Maaran was accompanied by 'Dangal' filmmaker Nitesh Tiwari for the session titled, 'From the Director's Chair'.

IFFI, which opened on Wednesday, will run till November 28. PTI SHD RDSRDS