D Ramachandran : Meet the 69-year-old silver screen debutant

D Ramachandran in the play 'Water' directed by P C Ramakrishnan

He was going through the script of a popular play. As I had entered the hall, he greeted me in a most warm and sincere manner. “Nobody has ever acknowledged my presence with such delight, let alone an ‘old man’,” I thought. Little did I know that this talented soul would soon become the talk of the town.

A few months later, we met again, this time the conversation was longer than before:

“Are are you a Malayali?”

Me: Yes

“Naatilu evideyaanu?” (Which part of Kerala do you belong to?)

Me: Kochi. I did not know that you could speak Malayalam

“I studied at the MCC High School in Chepet and was fortunate to have interacted with many Malayalis during my time. Also, I stayed at the school’s hostel and would often ask my roommates to teach me some Malayalam. I also visit Sabarimala every year. So, ente Malayalam athreyam tharakkedilla (My Malayalam is not too bad).

The Tamil film – Nerrkonda Paarvai, directed by Boney Kapoor and starred Ajithkumar, soon became yet another on the cap of this simple yet committed theatre actor.

Who is this person?

Meet D Ramachandran. A law graduate and the former Vice-President of a chemical company in Tamil Nadu, D Ramachandran aka D.R. is also chartered accountant (CA) inter qualified). As a student, D.R. was active in Tamil Theatre and had played eight roles. However, he had taken a break due to this academics. It was 2012 that D.R. had made a comeback with the English adaption of Komal’s popular Tamil play -Thanneer Thanneer. The English play – Water – was directed by P C Ramakrishnan.

Since then, he has acted in five English plays and a Tamil play called Bharatiyar by SBS Creations.

TV ads and news reading

D.R. also had stint at Doordarshan, where he had worked as a Tamil news reader from 1978 to 1988. He has lent his voice for many television commercials and also acted in ad films.

Nerkonda Paarvai – an opportunity that sought him

The Tamil remake of Soorjit Sircar’s Pink was a moment that, according to D.R., had come to seek him. “I have never asked for an opportunity nor will I ever do so,” explained D.R. His role in the film, of a judge hearing the case of three women who were physically harassed, was widely appreciated. When asked about the experience, he said that the film had exposed him to several aspects of the art and of life.

He explained, “There was a scene where one of the actresses had to become emotional yet anger upon narrating a horrific incident. Unfortunately, the scene had three retakes. I was amazed to see how the actresses could emote very well in each take.”

D.R. also said that certain portions of the movie had compelled him to step out after the take and cry his eyes out. “The situations that people have to deal with are so awful. Hence, I could not take it anymore. I had to step, feel emotional and then brace myself together before the next take,” he added.

Every moment on the sets of the film, according to D.R. was memorable.

More movies his way?

D.R. continues to be active in Chennai’s theatre circles and is also the Artistic Director of the Madras Youth Choir. He firmly believes that if he is destined to do more films, he will. Until then, he enjoys the stage and loves to be known as the man who gives it ‘his all’.