KS Ravikumar: Crazy Mohan would call me at 12.30am to discuss scenes

One of Kamal Haasan and KS Ravikumar’s cult films, Thenali, celebrated its 20 th anniversary on October 26, 2020. The movie, which revolved around a Sri Lankan Tamil suffering from multiple phobias and the psychiatrist who was treating him, was appreciated by both the audience and critics. One of the highlights of the movie was its dialogue and screenplay.

“When I write a screenplay, I also write the dialogues. That’s the first draft. I write down every aspect – how a scene will start, how it will go, how it will end and how it will lead to the next scene. And then, my dialogue writers would work on lines and retain mine if they found it good,” says Ravikumar.

The filmmaker had teamed up with Crazy Mohan for this film. Talking about the late playwright and actor, he says, “He would write his lines at my office. He would come at 6pm with a flask full of tea, his vethala potti and his assistant. I’d sit with him for a while and then leave. His assistants would write the lines as and when he said them aloud. He would call me at 12.30 in the night to discuss scenes, and we would sometimes call Kamal sir, too. He had so many inputs to give!”

The film, notably, didn’t have a separate comedy track. “After Nattamai, the trend of having a separate comedy track changed. Earlier, club dance and comedy track were important for a film. But later, the comedy became a part of the story. I didn’t have a separate track in Pista, Parambarai or any of my later films,” he signs off.