Debuting with short films, Balaji Mohan went on to announce his Kollywood entry with the quirky Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi (2012), after which he came up with another unique offering, Vaayai Moodi Pesavum.
He has worked on two films with Dhanush — Maari and Maari 2 — both of which raked in the moolah at the box office. These are four movies/shows that he recommends.
Forrest Gump (1994)
This is close to my heart because it’s the first film that ever made me cry. After watching it, I realised that deep down, I had started blossoming into an empathetic creator.
A poster for Forrest Gump
It’s a great film to watch for character study, balancing realism and fantasy, and tells us about destiny and the power of the human will. It also uses CG not for gimmick, but for seamless storytelling. Of course, there’s the mind-blowing performance of Tom Hanks.
Kadhal Konden (2003)
I watched it when I was in Class X.
Dhanush and Sonia Agarwal in Kadhal Konden
After watching the film, I changed my ambitions from wanting to be an actor to becoming a director because of the conviction in vision of director Selvaraghavan, and for creating a star out of a new, unknown actor that Dhanush was back then. I’ve been a Dhanush and Selvaraghavan fan ever since. The use of music, cinematography and staging to create a unique world and mood in this film is unparalleled.
The Sopranos (1999-2007)
A binge-worthy TV show about a mafia family headed by Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini).
A poster for The Sopranos
This is a unique balance of a gangster genre and family drama. The lead character’s balance between power as a mob boss, and vulnerability as a patient going through psychotherapy makes for an interesting watch. And the multiple colourful characters in the series are so well written and performed.
This recent Netflix series has a refreshing take on a character with autism trying to figure out love and relationships.
The characters are so well written — the lead character Sam, who suffers from autism, and is socially awkward and brutally honest; his sister who keeps pulling his leg but cares for him unconditionally, and a bunch of other interesting quirky characters. It’s a comfort watch which makes you laugh and also touches you.
(As told to Srinivasa Ramanujam)