INDIAN EXPRESS interview by Kamani Mathai.
    First a journalist with 'The Guardian'. Then a novelist in 1973 with 'The Marriage'. Then came a string of nine fiction and two non-fiction books. And a multiple-award winning movie, 'The Square Circle', also listed among the Time magazine's-top ten movies of the year in 1997.
    Not to mention a 28 minute film. With Timeri Murari, it seems like there's more than only one thing going. 'The Only Thing', the title of his latest film, had its origin in the American saying, ' 'Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing." It has an all Madras Players cast with Karthik Kumar, P C Ramakrishnan and Bhagyam Narayanan in the lead roles. Murari also makes an appearance in the film, Hitchcock style.
    The story is about a corrupt politician (P C Ram) who fakes his own death to escape investigation and Anil finds the ill-gotten money in his bank account. He then leads the high life.
    His almost Stoic to Epicurean conversion begins with his name (now Adam), his clothes (jazzy-snazzy red jacket from 'veshti'), friends (from statues of Ganesha to the bad boys and the 'girls just wanna have fun' types) and apartment (carpet-less floor to upholstered diwan, air conditioner- everything he needed to make his 'shudh' Brahmin papa shriek).
    "The story is vaguely based on a true story. On a very real Indian politician. So that covers a whole gamut of sins."
Murari had four other story ideas, but this one was selected over the others. One of them was about three girls trying to find the right man (rejected because he knew he'd have "problems shooting that one in India"). Another, a comedy, was about how gossip spreads through masseurs ("I knew I'd have problems with this one too. Who is going to let me film them half-naked and being massaged.")
    Shot in and around his house, 'The Only Thing' took just six days to shoot, Murari having made the film "basically to keep his name in the record books".
    'The Only Thing' was scripted, produced and directed by me. Actually, the other reason I made 'The Only Thing' was to see if I could direct."
    Direct, because he has a full-length movie in mind. "Don't want to say too much about it because you tend to jinx something when you talk about it. Let's just say it is about a person trying to discover himself. He has found out that his mother hasn't told him evening. Especially about who his father is. It will be set in India." This too will have an original screenplay. '
So right now, for Timeri Murari, it is direction that has taken over, while novels seem to have taken a back seat. For a while, at least.