Acclaimed filmmaker Shanjhey Kumar Perumal, who made his directorial debut with 2015’s Jagat, announced that he has finally found a new story worth telling on the big screen. Having won Best Director award at the 28th Malaysia Film Festival (FFM), our 2016 Men of the Year honouree’s debut is largely considered to be one of the best Tamil language films made in Malaysia.
“Throughout my career, I had to turn down various opportunities to arrive at one that resonated with me. I’ve been conscious, picky, and careful over my next project after Jagat, no regrets.” Making his comeback after seven years, the renowned director is beyond ecstatic to return to the world of filmmaking. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak to Shanjhey as he shares his thoughts on the current state of moviemaking.
In 2015, Jagat was launched to immense critical acclaim and became the first local Tamil production to enjoy eight weeks of unbroken screening. How did the success of Jagat impact your approach as a filmmaker?
It gave me space to analyse my strength and my weakness. Also, the success of the film built my confidence to continue pursuing in what I believe with more conviction.
You’ve been conscious and careful over the next chapter in your filmmaking career, what can you tell us about your upcoming project?
For now, it’s too early to reveal the details about the project. I can say that it’s going to be a different genre and approach compared to Jagat but maintaining the same energy.
Now that you’re returning to the film set, what is the one thing that you look forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to the joy and magic of filmmaking. There is a quote from a movie that resonated with me, “And mankind exists in order to create works of art.” There is a tremendous joy in creating art with people who share the same outlook. I’ve always felt that filmmaking is a combination of engineering and gardening. We need to be detailed regarding the film’s script and its production, but then during the process it’s like gardening, you never know which seed is going to grow. We plan certain things and let things take their own course, it’s magical.
What are the toughest aspects of making a film today?
Filmmaking process has become more and more easier and accessible with digital democracy. But it’s hard to distribute the film. More and more films mean less demand, plus people are losing the attention span due to the rise of social media. Internationally, the big studios are categorising audience into one massive box with a singular taste. Sadly, people are losing their individuality, and that extends to their taste and preference as well.
Do you have any advice for young filmmakers out there?
Someone said a good director is the one who is very precise with what he wants and that he trusts the project very much even though people around him doesn’t. However, in order to get a clearer vision, we need to deeply understand ourselves first. It’s a discovery within, and the rest is secondary. This is not an advice but rather something I derive from my own experience.