Director Suresh Krissna pays rich tribute to the late K Balachander.
Suresh Krissna is known for his movies like Annamalai, Veera, Baasha, and has worked with top stars like Rajinikanth, Mohanlal, Kamal Haasan and Chiranjeevi.
He pays tribute to his mentor K Balachander, who passed away into the ages on December 23, under whom he worked in his early days:
KB (as K Balachander was fondly called) is no more but he will live on through his movies.
Almost all the films he made bore the stamp of his genius. He was unique in his approach to subjects and his narrative style and that is why he was in a class of his own.
During Diwali many films with big stars are released. KB’s film needed no stars. ‘A film by K Balachander’ was enough to draw the crowds.
I was fortunate to have worked as his assistant for seven years and in 14 films. His classics like Ek Duuje Ke Liye and Sindhu Bhairavi were made during that period.
What made him unique? What was that special quality that made him a genius?
There were many incidents I can quote but there are some moments I can never forget…
The first surprise was when KB did the love story, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, in 1980. He was 50 years old, an age when many said you cannot make a youthful love story.
It was a remake of his Telugu film Maro Charitra, released a year earlier. L V Prasad, another legend of Indian cinema, had bought the rights and wanted KB to direct it in Hindi.
I was earlier assistant to L V Prasad and then joined KB for I knew both Hindi and Tamil.
I am not exaggerating, but the way KB worked in the outdoors in Vizag was unbelievable!
His speed and enthusiasm was unmatchable. He was a livewire, moving from one shot to another. He had a childlike enthusiasm; he wanted to capture each and every shot in the best possible way.
He was a taskmaster when it came to performance. He would not compromise on it. He wanted the actors to perform in the manner he had conceived.
There would be a lot of improvisation, especially when a fabulous actor like Kamal Haasan was in a scene. KB had a tremendous liking for Kamal Haasan.
Kamal Haasan, in turn, knew that if he put in that extra effort, his mentor would like it.
It was a treat to watch a great director and actor working in unison. The efforts of both resulted in Ek Duuje Ke Liye being one of the many great movies they worked in together.
The film was completed with a change in the climax as suggested by Prasadji. In the original Telugu version, the heroine is raped before she and the hero jump from the mountain and die. In the Hindi version, however, there was no rape.
Prasadji felt that there was no need to get the heroine raped when she was going to die anyway.