What unity you're talking about when you don't celebrate the success of others? ~Haridhass

I was born in Teluk Intan. Kicked off as a dancer in the entertainment industry in the year of 1989. I learned dancing by watching cinema songs and I used to perform in events.

Later on, I moved to Johor and worked in Singapore right after SPM. That led me to be a part of 
Rameshwara dance group which was a pretty well-known dance group back then.   

Looking back at my past jobs, I have worked in Carrefour. Then when I went to Singapore to work, I have had experience of working in Singapore Zoo.

Later on, as I came back to Johor I worked in Aiwa a radio brand and after that, I was working as a gas station staff where I poured petrol for express buses at LARKIN JB.

It must be a little shocking to some that even though I was my school's head prefect but yet I did not put much effort into studies. I was cursed by my headmaster that I will be the first head prefect to fail my SPM.

I passed even though it wasn't a flying colours result. The fear of what I am going to do next attacked me. A small interest which I had on dancing gave me a hope that this is what I should hold on to and this is what I can do the best at.

In 2001, I came to Kuala Lumpur and I became a solo dancer. As a dancer, I did lots of shows and as much as I enjoy performing, it is devastating when it comes to the payment part.

The organizer will run away without paying me. Some will not even bother to pay me. I have had days where I will have to eat only rice and soy sauce as I was stranded all alone in KL without my family. 

I had to work as a security guard at Summit USJ to bring food to my table and I was driving a Kancil to move around. Though that can be seen as a downfall, I didn't give up. 

I believed I will somehow get a breakthrough. 

That's when the opportunity to act came by and the first project is a Malay drama. Ebby Saiful was the one who taught me on how to act. My first Tamil movie is Prana.

My first movie was unbelievable as I did the dual character as father and son. I also did a live firewalking as the scene required it in Teluk Intan village. I fasted for one month just for that.

Then, I was involved in a lot of serials, DVD movies and now feature films.

I have been doing serious roles since I was young. I have done a character of a doctor who has nerve disease to a point where I have to bald my head. In the end, I will die in the serial and be in a casket.

I had another dual character in Uruvam. I was a serial killer in Opps Kosa Dappa. I have never had a love story with a relaxing storyline.

Maravan was a huge breakthrough. Out of 18 years of experience in acting, I received the Best Villain Award for Maravan. Which is also my 9th Award after Maravan. 

SD Puvenandran is more like a brother to me. We think almost the same way and we always discuss the intensity of movie making and the intensity of acting.

The focus in intensity is rather lacking in Malaysia.

Aasaan came by as we wanted to give a social awareness related movie just like Maravan. Hence, with a true story as a base, we chose a building-related issue as a subplot and the main plot was a father and daughter love.

If you have watched the movie, you would have seen a research room full of notes. Each and every single thing is a true fact and every term that was used in that movie was well researched.

The feedback for this movie was another unforgettable moment. 70 years old women told me that the story reminded her of her father. A 22 years old girl came and told me that, there was once she and her father had to sleep in a lorry for 2 months due to certain circumstances.

A small girl came from orphanage told me that the girl in the movie had such father and she doesn't have one. Another man came and told me that he could relate himself to the movie as the exact scene from the movie happened to him as well. 

Once when he was bringing his daughter around in the car, the car was taken away by a loan shark. They had to walk home that day.

To have the public to relate themselves to the movie is a huge achievement for us. It is a huge success for us.

For Maravan, one lady came to me and told me that she feels like slapping me. Personally, I felt like a huge winner. When the public can feel the hatred on me it means I played the villain character well.

There was once a guy from the industry posted a status on his facebook saying that artists are standing outside of the theatre just to take a selfie with 10 people for local-made Tamil movies. Obviously, I do not agree with it as I felt that was a very foolish statement ever made.

Putting marketing aside, you can't personally reach each and everyone through social media. We wanted to have a personal touch with everybody who is watching our movie. We wanted to personally hear the genuine feedback from each and everyone.

We want to make the necessary changes which are being commented by the public. It is our responsibility and it is the respect that we are giving them. At the end of the day it is the public who is watching our movie after all.

For us, the actors, peoples' response matters the most to us. I do movies for my fans and for people. I don't do movies for the industry people.

I saw a huge change among certain people on the way they received Maravan and Aasaan. Maravan was warmly received and Aasaan was seen as a competition. We realised a lot of changes in both movies.

When Aasaan got released guess how many industry people gave reviews on it? How many promoted it on their social media? They were rather quiet as though Aasaan don't exist. 

There was once, while I did a video to promote this particular Malaysian Tamil movie and they actually complained about a Kollywood movie where I was a part of it to the authorities. Saying that the movie is ruining their collection as coincidently both movies released on the same day.

It was rather shocking and indigestible to date. That's how selfish people can be.

In fact, it really hurts to see vital people marketing another non-Malaysian movie just because they are being paid. So honest review has become luxury? Only those who can afford to pay can have it?

Specifically, industry people are talking about unity while nobody is united. Is it the idea of attending an event and taking selfies together is called as unity? That's the most 'unity' I can personally see.

The biggest problem here is we are not celebrating the success of others. That's the issue. If somebody is doing good then encourage him and motivate him to do more.

There are sudden NGO's appearing here and there like mushrooms and they will eventually die without any news later on.

All I know is you are not an NGO if you only appear during an artist's funeral to collect the donation. You need to take care of the welfare of an artist while they are alive. A lot of artists are jobless now.

 What the NGO's has done for these people? So what unity they are talking about exactly when petty issues like this are still existing? From all these years, we know exactly at which range the unity level among the Malaysian industry is.

The unity is not only lacking among industry people. Those who are involved in a particular movie are also showing a lack of unity. When a team is involved in the movie, it is not only the lead artist's job to promote the movie.

Everybody who got involved in the movie has a responsibility to be a part of the movie from the start till the end. Most are thinking just because the lead artist is being given the importance among others so they don't have to be part of it.

Attitude matters when it comes to this. We came from scratch as well. We didn't come to this level easily. We went through a lot as well.

One thing that I realise which is happening in South India and not in Malaysia is when a movie got released the entire South Indians artists who are not involved in the movie will be giving shout outs to it.

Why is that not happening here? So where exactly is the unity? I was a fool for being very supportive to most industry people and for reviewing other people's material and movie. I am done with it. 

You can't be a fool forever. I came all alone to this industry. I had no whatsoever connection. I have a lot of injuries on my body. Till now I can't bend my left knee a 100%.

I have a lot of bruises on my knees. My knuckle bone broke during Uruvam movie. In Oops Kossa Dappa 2 I fell on glasses and I got scratches and cuts all over my body.

I have taken such risks in my life for movies and so I am at this stage. Nothing comes easy. 9 awards didn't come to me easily. I have done 2 movies in South India. Nee Naan Nizhal and Ippadaivellum

Back here, I personally like Kuben Mahadevan's acting, Vicran, Karnan (GCrack), Saresh and Yuvaraj from Venpa. They have high respect for me and I really respect their talent. They are super talented.

Lack of humbleness is why most people are missing from the scene though they are talented. If you see Shashitharan, he won FFM Pelakon Harapan Award for ‘Appalam’.

He has acted in a lot of Malay movies and also he acted in a Malay army movie ‘BRAVO 5’. It is a huge achievement yet he has never boasted about his achievements. He is so simple.

Even now I am just a wedding photographer. Fame is an illusion. We should adore the beauty of it and that's it. That's all about it. We should never put it on top of our head, if we do we will be ruined. 

"I know" and "only I know" is completely different. A lot of people in the industry have the " Only I know" thoughts. They are thinking after producing their movie is the best and the rest is thrash.

Even Kamal Hassan could have stopped after acting in Apoorva Sagodharargal. Without any high tech, he gave us all an amazing movie but he didn't stop there. He went until Vishvaroopam. Why?

It is a learning process. You will keep learning in this field.

Yes, there are some movies which are bad but good movies are also being released right?

Maravan won Best Country Movie award from New York Dhaka Film Festival. That news was published in few blogs and no one from the industry shared it.

Why? Why is it so difficult for you to share the success of others? These are the questions that I have in me. When this attitude changes then the industry will improve.

It is my anger on the industry. Pure anger. Don't talk about unity when there is none.

Why there wasn't even one live video was done by the industry people when Aasaan was released? Yes, within a week of Aasaan being released most theatres decreased the number of shows.

We didn't reveal any negative feedback. Since we are professional movie makers, we have to act like one. We shouldn't beg for sympathy from the public

Each ticket is costing them about RM 15 TO RM 17. Popcorn and parking. If he brings a family, think how much each family will have to spend? They have to be willing to spend for your movie.

If we start to blame the public because our show time is being taken away, the public will not have the desire to come and watch our movie no matter how good it is.

They will take the complains you made through live videos in a very negative way. They will start to give less importance to our movies.

We as filmmakers, need pride, we need dignity. I am a filmmaker. I am making a movie for the public. Whether it is wrong or not. Whether it wins or lose. Box office or flop. I will bear the consequences with pride.

That is a true movie maker. Not by making silly videos asking for public sympathy. That will put down the entire industry.

Newcomers don't understand one thing. Everything is just temporary in this field. Nothing is forever. In this industry the higher we achieve, the faster we will drop down as well. 

We can please most of the industry people easily but it is not easy to please the public. At the end of the day, the success or the failure of a project depends on the public. So the priority goes to the public.

If we are capable of celebrating the success of others, we will induce the energy for them to do better. It will eventually result in a great outcome. If we hold on to this strongly we will make changes!

To celebrate the success of others are the true unity. The public should see that for one movie the entire industry is supporting and promoting. Will we be doing it? 

What's the meaning of a good movie? A good collection from the movie or having public talking about a movie even after years?

I personally still learning on how to direct as I don't dare to direct yet. Directing is not a simple thing. It doesn't just involve action and cut. 

Just because you're sitting on a director's seat it doesn't make you one. It needs deep knowledge. I have had offers to direct but I didn't want to put their money in waste. 

I have a lot to learn in direction. You need qualifications to put your work on the silver screen. You need to study every single shot. 

I’ve directed 3 short films to date. ‘IRUTTU’ ‘PAPA’ and ‘NALLATHOR VEENAI SEIDHEIN’.

Telemovie and feature film shots are different. You must study the screenplay. You need qualifications to command while sitting in the director's chair, if not you will be only embarrassing it.  

If you fail, don't blame others. Start from a short film as we don't pay to watch a short film but we do pay to watch a feature film.    

My personal favourite will be Prana, Ops 2, Mr.Karthik, Yantra, Uruvam, Sollathathu & Unarvu.

Maravan and Aasaan which is directed by SD Puvanendran are very close to my heart. As an actor, I feel fulfilled. We are planning on a hat-trick real soon.

Talent is God given. Be humble. 
Fame is man-given. Be grateful.
Conceit is self-given Be careful.

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