Debut director Gitanjali says had it not been for her filmmaker and husband Selvaraghavan’s constant motivation and support, she could not have been given her prolonged desire to wield the megaphone.
"This is something I’ve been looking forward to for the last few years. This is what I’ve been waiting for. It feels good to finally arrive at where I wanted to be and to achieve it with the help of my husband makes everything even more special," Gitanjali, whose Tamil romantic drama Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam releases in cinemas on Friday, said.
"After we got married and had children, it was my husband who told me not to let go of my ambition for the sake of the family," said Gitanjali who married the filmmaker in 2011.
Gitanjali says she didn’t decide to don the director’s hat overnight. It has been a dream she’s been nurturing since she was a teenager.
"I worked as an assistant director to Selva even before we got married. All these years, the time wasn’t just right to make the plunge. Soon after marriage, I was pregnant with my daughter and after she was born, when I decided to finally get on the horse, I got pregnant again," she said.
With Selvaraghavan’s constant support, she finally realized her filmmaking dream.
"From the very beginning, Selva made it very clear that he didn’t want me to live the life of a simple housewife. He didn’t want me to kill my dreams and he knew that I’m a strong and independent person who can juggle between professional and personal lives," she added.
The film’s script was originally written by Selvaraghavan, and Gitanjali admits her "biggest fear" was whether she will be able to do full justice to it.
"Even he was very apprehensive initially and it was not until he saw the rushes of the film after the first schedule, did he feel the project was in safe hands. It’s easy to direct your own script, because you’ve already visualized it in your head and know exactly how you want to make it," she said, and added it’s not easy to direct someone else’s script.
"When I discussed this issue with Selva, he asked me to stop treating it like his script. He didn’t want me to get influenced by his work. He ensured that I didn’t try and make the film like how he’d make it," she added.
The film features debutants Balakrishna Kola and Wamiqa Gabbi in the lead roles.
Contrary to the rumours, Gitanjali says the film is not inspired from her husband’s life.
"This is a fictional story and deals with many real events that could happen in anybody’s life. A lot of people have been asking me if it’s based on my husband’s life because the hero, Balakrishna Kola, looks incredibly real like Selva, and that’s just a coincidence," she said.
She also clarified that Selvaraghavan didn’t ghost-direct the project.
"I know how much hard work I had done. And to take all this credit and give it away to Selva is really unfair. We’ll always be grateful to Selva for giving us the script, but to say he was ghost-directing the film is very, very unfair," she signed off.