One, an English film under production, is literally a one-man show by Sankagiri Rajkumar. How does the filmmaker manage to pull it off all by himself?
Director Sankagiri Rajkumar, whose first film Vengayam got re-released after well-known filmmakers backed it for its content and message, is now busy working on his next project which is turning heads even before its completion.
Titled One, the English film is unique in many ways. Not only will it have Rajkumar play all the roles, it will also be made by him.
“There are around 350 characters and I play all of them. Of these, one particular sequence that takes place in a theatre has 250 characters and I have used CG to enhance the presentation. My film has no unit or crew. I am the only one working on it. I am its story writer, script writer, dialogue writer, director, cameraman, editor, music director, sound mixer and colour corrector among the hundreds of other things required to make a film,” he says unassumingly.
When he says he is attempting to make this film all by himself, one can’t help but wonder if the man is looking to get into the record books.
“Not at all,” says Rajkumar, before going on to add, “In fact, as of now, I don’t even intend applying to Guinness Records although I don’t think such an effort has ever been made. I guess I have to explain why I am doing all this by myself. I am doing it because I want to draw attention to the important message this film carries.”
That naturally makes one wonder what One is all about. Rajkumar explains, “We are always searching for something in this world, without knowing what we are looking for is right next to us. If people understand this simple fact, peace will reign. One is a film that is about the last person on this earth. It starts off with several characters but reaches a stage where only the hero remains.”
After Vengayam in Tamil, why has he chosen to make a film in English?
Says Rajkumar: “I thought Vengayam’s theme and message would benefit the people in the State. One’s message will benefit all of humanity and therefore, I chose to make it in English. There was another reason for this decision. I do not know anybody abroad but then, I didn’t have any backing in Tamil Nadu when I did Vengayam either. So, I thought when the risk factor is the same, why not go global.”
The film, which has been shot in several parts of India, including, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, has also been shot in Malaysia and Thailand.
“Eighty per cent of the film is completed. But it will take another five months to finish it as I have to do everything on my own. One was a film I had in mind long before Vengayam was made. I thought of this concept in 2003 and have been learning all the aspects of filmmaking ever since. I thought I would be able to master them in five years but it took me nine and a half years,” says Rajkumar.
When even professionals say they are yet to master their craft, how is it that he has found the confidence to learn as many as 32 areas of filmmaking?
“I am not making a film to showcase its technical aspects nor am I attempting to impress people with technology. My film is more like gruel to the hungry than a wedding feast to the well-fed. What is important is that it communicates the message I intend to pass on,” he signs off.