Actor and producer Vijay Sethupathi recently paid rich tributes to director S P Jananathan at a media briefing organised at the Prasad Lab to promote the late director’s last film Laabam, which is to hit screens on September 9.
Participating in the event, Vijay Sethupathi, who plays the lead in Laabam, said director S P Jananathan’s loss was indeed a huge one and that his close associate, Mr. Aalayamani, turning emotional while delivering the welcome address was understandable.
“Nothing can console Mr Aalayamani, who has been with Director S P Jananathan from the start. I have known them from the time I was a junior artiste and knocked on their door for opportunities.”
The actor said that he felt like a sinner for not having spent more time with the late director. “I wish I had spent more time with director S P Jananathan. I didn’t know that time was such a curse. Had I known, I would have spent more time with the late director,” he said.
Describing the deep bond that they shared, Vijay Sethupathi said, “Director S P Jananathan and I had great understanding and love for one another. It was something like a father-son relationship. You don’t realise its significance when the person is there. If you have someone you cherish, please express your admiration and love for them.”
The actor also made it clear that the complete credit for such a thought provoking film must go to the late director. “If this film has come out well, the credit for it must all go to the late S P Jananathan sir.”
“I have known the producer of this film Aarumuga Kumar for over 12 years. I have produced four films but I don’t keep track of their budgets or accounts. This is because I fear that I will lose the art I have in me, if I develop a penchant for business or finance. I have a school friend called Chandrashekar who takes care of my accounts. I haven’t taken a salary for this film. I have got the good fortune of producing this film and I don’t know which forefathers’ noble deed of mine has fetched me this blessing,” Vijay Sethupathi explained.
The actor went on to say that director S P Jananathan believed that cinema was not just entertainment and that it was a lot more than that.
“He used to say that it makes people think and change. We come across so many instances where people have said, “This scene changed me or this scene got me thinking.” Art leads people to think and change. Therefore, he thought it was wrong to call cinema as just entertainment,” Vijay Sethupathi recalled.
Choosing to explain what Laabam was all about as envisaged by the late director, Vijay Sethupathi chose to read out certain lines S P Jananathan had himself penned about the film…
“I think the British came to India, looking at only its cultivation and farming practices being carried out in our country’s villages. If it were just gold or diamonds that they were after, they could have taken it and left. They were taking cotton and sugarcane being grown here for centuries together as there is a worldwide market for these goods.There are around 2000 sugarcane mills in India and all of them function with only sugarcane as the raw material.
“From the sugar they get from the sugarcane to the molasses that they make using sugar to the alcoholic varieties they make using molasses to the milk chocolate to the electricity that they generate to the paper they make from the chaff, all of them come from agriculture.
“There is nothing called waste with regard to agricultural produce. Therefore, there are several factories and industries running depending on the agricultural produce. Crores are being made. A farmer, who goes in the evening and stands in a queue to buy a bottle of alcohol, does not know that the beer or the brandy that he is buying is made from what he produced and that others are making huge profits. It is about this irony that Laabam speaks,” the actor read out.
The actor also thanked the Tamil Nadu government for having re-opened theatres. He said, “Lakhs of families comprise the film industry. I thank the government on behalf of all of them. I also wholeheartedly welcome all fans and film lovers back to the theatres.”
Earlier, a minute of silence was observed as homage to the great director.