Filmmaker Rabi Kisku talks about his latest film Software Hardware Kya Yaaron that will hit city screens shortly

Filmmaker Rabi Kisku has his task cut out, having made an independent Indian English film during a time when movie channels that buy Indian English content are shutting down. His small film needs to generate its revenue through the box-office. Software Hardware Kya Yaaron released in Bangalore last week, and the filmmaker plans to bring it to Chennai and Hyderabad over the next fortnight. The ex-IITian who passed out of Chennai made his debut film Silicon Jungle in 2006.

“I’m an engineer and all my classmates are software engineers. So I kind of lived amidst them and heard stories about their office life. My friends always used to tell me I should make a movie on software engineers and it will be one hell of a movie,” Rabi starts the story of how he ended up making the film.

How it began

Software… began with a train journey. “I saw a group of very classy-looking IT guys talking in a very polished and intellectual way in a slightly American accent. But after some time, the accent was gone and they started talking in Hyderabadi Urdu. I was in splits. I realised these guys might work in MNCs and travel across the globe, but at the end of the day, they can never get disconnected from their roots.”

It was a rather daunting task to get the film made. “After Silicon Jungle, which I made with a budget of a short-film those days, I thought I’d arrived in the industry and that offers would pour in, but nothing of the sort happened. Instead, I got a tag of an art film director in the industry. I didn’t recover the money either. But once you make a movie, you are smitten for life. You kind of cross the point of no-return.”

Rabi wasn’t interested in getting a desk job. He simply wanted to tell the kind of stories he wanted to. “Silicon Jungle was an engineering college movie, that happened much before Happy Days or 3 Idiots . Software… is about software professionals. I felt that if I didn’t tell those stories, no one ever would.”

Though technology has made technical aspects cheaper, there were still a few hurdles to be crossed. “Convincing investors, producers, actors and distributors for unconventional stories, getting permissions to shoot, getting locations… Corporates don’t like giving away their spaces for film shooting because of the bad reputation film productions have. And then we had to get actors from different ethnic backgrounds and manage the whole production without much resources. When you have money, every aspect of filmmaking becomes easier.”

Though he knew the subject was unconventional, he always wanted to make the film for the man on the street. “I didn’t make this film keeping festivals in mind. I knew this kind of film will not be appreciated in the festival circuit; it’s a very fun, light-hearted and mad film. Till the premiere happened, I wasn’t sure whether I’d made a good film or not, because in India the concept of good or popular is completely different. People here love slapstick and over-the-top comedy; the humour in this film is very software industry-specific. But I got a good response from the people, film fraternity and critics.”

But competing for halls with films such as Billa 2 and The Dark Knight Rises is a battle not many independent filmmakers can win. “I convinced a couple of theatres in Bangalore to release it. I will be releasing it in Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi one city at a time. Releasing simultaneously in all cities requires a lot of money and resources.”