Latha Kurien’s debut short film Cologne comes with the message that age and time are not barriers when it comes to seizing the day

Latha Kurien is a person who has “never been afraid to seize the day”. She’s an art historian, curator, entrepreneur, award-winning film producer, teacher... and now, when she’s “nearing 50”, a filmmaker too. Latha’s debut short film, Cologne, all about seizing the day, is set to be premiered on April 1 at Co-Bank Auditorium.

Cologne narrates the tale of an educated but lonely homemaker’s carpe diem moment, when she finally finds herself, or rather, realises herself through a small act of spontaneous altruism. The ball sets rolling when Sheila’s busy husband, Ram, forgets her 40th birthday. She’s impelled to seize the day and as such invites young food delivery guy Eshwar, a migrant worker from Orissa, into her home to share her birthday feast. Sheila opens up to him about herself, knowing full well that he cannot understand her. Eshwar, though charmed by her kindness and hospitality, is much more interested by her cologne than the sumptuous meal or the new clothes that she has given him.

“Age is not a factor for anything, or for anyone, irrespective of their gender. Neither is time relevant if you want to seize the day. Look at my hero, Rabindranath Tagore. He had already reached the heights of literature and music when he became an artist at age 65! It’s actually society that limits us, clips our wings. It’s taken Sheila all her life to go out and do something. She reminds me of myself, in a sense. All my life I’ve been a square peg in a round hole and it’s taken all these years to go out and do something like this. If you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything,” says Latha.

Turning filmmaker, she says, was but a natural progression, having been inspired by her husband, veteran filmmaker T.K. Rajeevkumar, to get behind the camera.

“In the 18 years we’ve been married I’ve been an Ekalavya watching Rajeev crafting the medium he so loves. I’ve finally come to understand what draws him to cinema so; why he lives and breathes it. Then again, I’ve always had a love for cinema. During my childhood years, every Friday, my parents would take me and my two sisters to the movies. Thankfully, I also have a keen visual sense,” says Latha, a graduate of University of Kerala and Kalabhavan, VisvaBharati University, Shatiniketan. Yet, when her friend Deepthi Nair came to her with the script for Cologne and asked her to direct it, she says she was flummoxed. “It was Rajeev who told me to just go ahead and do it. I didn’t make the film as Rajeevkumar’s wife, though. I did it as me,” says Latha, adding that the film was a real collaborative effort. “My cast and crew helped me a lot, especially with the post-production, which I had very little knowledge of, partly because Rajeev never lets anyone – not even me – disturb him while he is at it!” says Latha.

Parvathy plays the role of Sheila, while Abhinav Kumar plays her husband and Ram Kumar stars as Eshwar in the 29-minute short. Arun Alison has cranked the camera. Music is by Miles Trevalyan and Johnson.