"Antha Naal" is a local Tamil language documentary depicting real-life events and experiences from the 1920s to the 1990s, currently airing on Astro Vaanavil HD (CH 201).

Astro recently caught up with Maran Perianen, the director of the series, as well as Kabilan Kandasamy, the host, to learn about the inspiration, and their experiences filming the show. Below is the interview:

Maran Parianen, Director:

Could you share your inspiration behind directing Antha Naal?

I have always been interested in history, and fascinated with how our lives in the present are shaped. Each time I look at past events, I learn that it is somehow interconnected to various smaller events. This has fascinated me and I felt that these stories need to be told.

What can the audience look forward to with Antha Naal?

Each episode in Antha Naal is a personal journey of those who witnessed an event, and I feel that it is a privilege to hear from them, in their own words and emotions. That is the highlight of the show. In addition, the audience will also have the opportunity to immerse themselves in history with the historical footages and images. Some of it will bring them back to the timeline of when the events occurred.

How was your experience been like, directing Antha Naal?

I saw that many people who were supposed to be featured in the show, had passed away. I felt sad that I was unable to feature their stories. Apart from that, I am grateful and honoured for being able to feature these stories with the limitations we had. I should thank Finas and Astro for giving me the excellent opportunity to bring these stories to live.

What are your hopes for this series?

I hope Antha Naal will start conversations on the importance of history. Even the most basic conversation between parents and their children would be good. We need to know our past so we understand our present in a better context, which will prepare us for the future.

Kabilan Kandasamy, Host:

How was your experience hosting Antha Naal?

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Being a “newbie” doing this, I had excellent guidance and assistance from the team. I had on-the-spot Tamil teachers, pronunciation guides, acting coaches, makeup artist, etc. – all courtesy of the very experienced production team and crew. The documentary itself was a serious subject but being a journalist and a history buff, I enjoyed the subject matter, conducting interviews, and visiting the many sites.

I also learned so many new things about our history during the course of making this documentary. We had long days of shooting, both outdoors and indoors, sometimes under harsh weather conditions and other unique situations - but it was worth it. I am happy to have the opportunity to be part of this wonderful project, thanks to Maran, Far East Documentary Center Sdn Bhd, Finas and Astro for making it possible.

Could you share some of your memorable moments hosting Antha Naal?

There are many to choose from. When we shot at Penang, we had a bystander observing my “performance”, and every time I fumbled, he was cheering me on. After the final take, he gave a round of applause. So obviously, I had won his approval! Similarly in Kota Bharu, we had this guy just walking around the shoot spot, looking at what was happening. He was interested in how I was talking to the camera, and how the prompter works! After the shoot, we invited him to have a closer look.

The weather also played a major role. We had to wait for bits of sunshine to shoot as it was constantly raining during our shoot in Penang. And other times, it was incredibly sunny and hot, causing all of us to sweat profusely but the director wanted my shirt to be dry, and my face to be fresh! As for the personalities we interviewed, they are all unsung heroes - be it the academic, expert, witness or survivor – all of whose stories must be shared. I hope we can do that through Antha Naal.

Catch "Antha Naal" on Astro Vaanavil HD (Ch 201) or stream it via Astro GO app. You can also stream #OnDemand via Astro GO app or the Ultra/ Ulti/ PVR box!