Interview Team : Tamil Dharani, Arjun
The Indian/ Tamilan Cottalango Leon who made us all proud by winning the Academy award for Scientific & Technical Achievement in 2016 shares about the glam night, his family and Tamil film industry in a quick chat with Sub - Editor Tamil Dharani.   Read on to know more!

  About the glam night at OSCARS, the moment you received it!

I also wanted to say a few words in Tamil

  It was definitely a proud moment. I was very happy to stand there and receive it as part of the team and was very aware of how many people will watch it and feel very proud to see a fellow Indian/Tamilian standing on that stage. I was basically given about 15 seconds for the speech so had to put some thought into what I was going to say. I also wanted to say a few words in Tamil and express my gratitude for all the people who has helped me throughout my journey. Given the response after the telecast, I feel that it has worked out as I hoped.

  What was the most heartwarming appreciation after receiving the award?

  I am continuing to receive many messages in my facebook account from not only existing friends but also people from all over the world. Many people seemed to have made emotional connection though they never knew me as a person directly. I have received invitations to visit their homes/schools/colleges as well as even things like health tips and religious messages. I was particularly happy to receive messages from high school as well as college students who expressed how inspired they were to read this story and shared their determination to one day reach heights of their own chosen career.

  Every human wants appreciation, though many don’t like the concept of AWARDS. What has this award given you?

I certainly hope that I have inspired a few to overcome their own difficult situations

  As people familiar to me would attest, I am an introvert by nature and I felt very uncomfortable initially to be suddenly in public spot light. But I also realized quickly that this award is not just about me but also about sending a positive message to today’s youth and I felt happy to be in a lucky position to be able to reach out to so many people in a positive way. I certainly hope that I have inspired a few to overcome their own difficult situations and march on with their dreams.

  As a human being we need to evolve constantly but each individual needs a key to do that. What’s your key to constantly evolve in your field?

  I have to say it’s my love for Science and Technology which started from a very young age. I was also lucky to have parents and others who encouraged that interest and provided me with opportunities. For those interested in visual arts as well as technology, this industry offers an unique opportunity to be involved with both on a daily basis. Everyday I am surrounded by artists and engineers who are passionate about this and the collective energy and enthusiasm keep pushing me forward.

  Tell us about the process of entering the OSCARS nominees sheet?

  The oscar certificate for Science and Technology is handed out based on industry nominations and what the academy feels as having made significant impact on the movie making process. Once the specific areas of consideration is announced, other companies are invited to apply and then the Academy organizes special committees to investigate all the submissions. This process usually takes about an year ( and in our case, two years) and then the winners are announced.Unlike the main Oscars, the technology need not have been developed for a specific movie or in a specific year.

  Family, Coimbatore and Cottalango Leon. I know you have many things to say!

  My father Loorthu and mother Rajam are both from southern Tamil Nadu and relocated to Coimbatore for their jobs as primary school teachers. I was born in Tuticorin at my mother’s native place and that’s where my extended family still lives. My father passed away in 2000 but my mother currently lives along with my brother Cafaso in coimbatore.   Coimbatore was a great place to grow up and I had a very happy childhood. I spent my primary school years in Kallapalayam, a small village near Coimbatore and have very fond memories of a close knit community, adoring neighbors and plenty of play time. Later on we moved near Ondipudur during my high school, and again the experience was similar. I was also blessed with excellent teachers (including my own parents who served as teachers) all my life and many of them has made a significant impact on my educational as well as professional aspirations.

  What is the meaning of your name? Any significance!

  We are Roman Catholic family and within that culture sometimes parents choose a Christian name which can be foreign origin. In my case, it’s name of an Italian saint, Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo from the 18th century.

  You must have been seeing the growth of Tamil cinema industry from a distance, How it is now from then?

  Yes, my wife and I are big fans of Tamil films and enjoy watching both the old as well as new films coming from there. There has been an explosion of new talent and I am very happy that the filmmakers are now starting to experiment with new styles. Obviously there is a big difference with Hollywood in terms of how much capital they can invest so it probably limits using too much technology but I am impressed with how much they are able to push the boundaries within their own constraints.

  You have been an inspiration to many youngsters now. What would you like to advise them on?

Follow your passion and perfect what you may be naturally good at but also make sure the skill that you develop is something the world needs.

  Human curiosity should be celebrated and if you are a naturally curious person, do everything you can do to keep it alive. Often what excites somebody at the core level can be spotted when they are very young but if it hasn’t happened keep your eyes open. Follow your passion and perfect what you may be naturally good at but also make sure the skill that you develop is something the world needs. Good luck! Keep inspiring us! T.Tamil Dharani




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