I had to peel 65 to 70 kgs of onions everyday: Server Sundaram director

Director Anand Balki, who will have the honour of introducing Bijesh Nagesh, the grandson of the great comedian Nagesh, in his debut film Server Sundaram, says that his film is about an engineering graduate who turns an international chef.

The film has actor Santhanam playing the lead along with Vaibhavi Shandilya. Bijesh Nagesh plays the second hero in the film, which has been completed and which is awaiting release.

Talking about the film to Cinestaan, director Anand Balki says that he dedicates his film, Server Sundaram, to hoteliers. “I was into hotel management myself. When it came to being given respect, we were always last. Hoteliers deal with a lot of luxurious things. However, at the end of the day, behind the scenes, it is a different story. There is too much hardship that a hotelier undergoes. I know the pain that is there behind the guy who stands at the reception wearing a blazer. I know what kind of chiding he will have to take and how many hours he will have to work. That is because I have been in his shoes.”

The director clarifies that his intention is not to put down any hotel.

“Probably it is because of such training that I am so successful today. They teach you hardship. For instance, at one point in time during my hotel management training, my work was in the kitchen. I had to peel 65 to 70 kgs of onions everyday. That was my only job at that point. From 6 in the morning to 8 in the night, till the time I walked back home, that would be my job. My eyes would turn blood red,” says the director.

“At one point in time, I was asked to work in a butchery. I told them that I was a vegetarian and asked them if I could skip the part where I had to work at the butchery. On hearing my request, their response was, ‘Is that so? How many days have you been assigned to work in the butchery?’ I replied, ‘Four’ hoping that they would do away with it. On the contrary, they said, ‘Well, we have now increased it to eight days.’ So, for the next eight days, I was chopping all kinds of meat. It is for this reason that I basically consider hoteliers to be very strong persons as they undergo all these things. Those outside would not know this. They would think ‘What a lucky guy. He gets to work in a five-star hotel’ But only those inside know about the difficulties involved in the job.”

Question him how he got this idea to make a film and Balki Anand says, “Basically, I have always wanted to get into films. So, I waited to get into it. I wondered why I should not make a script using my personal experiences along with the little bit of knowledge that I had in making a story. I felt like writing a script. My first audience was my wife. When I told my wife that I was going to write a story, she laughed and said, ‘Are you joking?’ I was a little taken aback about having been dismissed so lightly. So, I narrated a one-liner to her and her face changed. We have been married seven years but I haven’t seen my wife’s reaction change like that. She said, ‘Anand, this is interesting.’ That was the first step and that was also my first inspiration.”

Finally, ask Anand Balki if Server Sundaram has a message and if so, what it is and he replies, “Server Sundaram is a family drama that has all the elements that go into making a script a thorough entertainer. It is about an aspiring engineer who ends up becoming a world-class chef. I have realized that at any point in time, a guy has something unique in him which he does not realize and aspires to be something else. Only a change in situation leads him to realize that skill. The message to the youth that my film looks to give is simple. The talent in you needs to be explored and more importantly, never underestimate yourself.”