Stories, my passion

The Economic Times நாளிதழின் நேற்றைய இணைப்பில் என்னைப்பற்றி ஒரு கட்டுரை வெளியாகி உள்ளது,

அதன் இணைப்பு

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Stories, my passion  - sudhir.sreenivasan


Thanks to his sheer, almost childlike love for stories, acclaimed Tamil novelist S Ramakrishnan has, for

several decades now, enjoyed success in the many  mediums of storytelling, and has now been awarded

with a Lifetime Achievement award

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There are a rare few in this world, those  lonely souls, who are so ‘Consumed by their passion that earthly matters, including money, come a distant second. Money, food and shelter to these people are almost an after-thought, and arrive duly, as if craving for attention from them who only have time and energy for that which they love. In S Ramakrishnan’s case, the love for storytelling has been all-pervasive. To those who are not aware of his existence (how many people can claim to know Tamilwriters, after all?), Ramakrishnan has been active in the often-ignored are- na of Tamil literature for a little over two decades.

During this productive time, he has managed to churn out around 10 successful Tamil novels, almost

a dozen plays, a few short story anthologies, about 20 collections of essays, and scripts and dialogues for

around 15 Tamil films, including popular films like Baba (2002), Sandakozhi (2004), unnale unnale(2007), and the recent Avan Ivan (2011). He is also known for his gregarious nature and a propensity to

go out of his way to help first-time directors and stu dents with their scripts.

The mere mention of students and first-time directors draws much excitement from him as, according to him, “These first-timers are lost and crave for a guide. They are unsure and need afirm, experienced hand to guide them. I only look for earnestness in them, and if I find it, Iusually go all out to help them with writing their stories and dialogues, short film or feature film notwithstanding.” It was one such project with a first-timer that resulted in the creation of Karna Motcham, a short film that has gone on to win over 30 awards all over the world, including the National Award for Best Short Film. The film’s success has consequently led to its director S Murali Manohar joining director Shankar as his assistant.

He seems surprisingly upbeat about the state of present Tamil literature. “The readership has deflnitely grown,” he says. “A decade ago, I had to hunt down libraries in. various cities to find books I wanted to read. Today, the internet has made information so much more accessible and has, in turn, made itpossible for Tamil literature to spread far and wide.”

While on the topic of technology, he makes no secret of his chagrin at how badly the language is treatedin the present educational system. “For every other subject including science and maths, computers areused,” he laments. “However, when it comes to teaching Tamil, teachers seem compelled to resort to the comfort of chalk pieces and blackboard, thereby accentuating the delusion that learning the Tamil language is quite archaic and may not be in sync with present trends.” According to him, there are somany job opportunities for those who study Tamil, including in anthropological research, grammarstudies, creation of Tamil software, and teaching the language to NRIs in the West who are starved forTamil teachers. “For some reason, people continue to think that the only choice for a Tamil scholar is tobecome a lecturer in some college!” he comments, while pointing out the need for a separate department in the Government to promote the language without seeming too dogmatic.

Ramakrishnan splits his year into two; one part that he spends writing novels, and the other that hedabbles in other areas of storytelling including writing for feature and short films, and organising work-shops. He writes for at least five hours every day and his stories are inspired greatly by historical eventsand also from his personal experience. “I’m working on my next novel, Nimiththam, that deals with the. story of a contemporary boy who doesn’t quite know what he wants to do in life. It’s much like the story of several youngsters these days who dabble in several areas without quite knowing what they want to do.”

Meanwhile, he is also working on writing the script of Samaran, actor Vishal’s next film.For his unforgettable and continuing contribution to Tamil literature, Tamil films, and the promotionof the Tamil language, the Tamil Literary Garden of Canada awarded him with the Lifetime Achievement Award 2011 and a cash award of 1,500 Canadian dollars yesterday in a grand function ‘that saw actor Rajinikanth being the chief guest. “As a storyteller, it’s vital that I observe people, their mannerisms, and keep myself aware of present trends,” he says. “I can be spotted sometimes with other directors at malls, observing various people and their behaviour. At other times, I keep myself surrounded

by youngsters who I learn a lot from. I think it is such company that keeps me revitalised to writemore and more stories.”

sudhir.sreenivasan@timesgroup.com

Thanks  : The Economic Times

Dated 03/02/2012

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