After cranking the camera for a score and more films that include noteworthy contributions — Kaadhal and Vazhakku Enn 18/9 — and debuting as director with the romantic musical, Azhagaai Irukkiraai Bayamaai Irukkiradhu that starred Bharath, cinematographer S.D. Vijay Milton wields the megaphone once again, this time for Goli Soda. For a film that doesn’t boast of a big star cast, Goli Soda is being marketed well, “thanks to my good friend, producer-director Lingusamy. His Tirupathi Brothers has bought the film,” says Milton. “‘You complete it and I’ll take care of the promos,’ he had told me. And he’s doing that now.”

 When Vijay Milton wrote the story he first took it to director Pandiraj. The two technicians have been close from the days of Autograph — Milton was behind the camera and Pandiraj was working as Cheran’s associate then. ‘Why don’t you produce and direct this film? The four children who acted in my Pasanga will suit this subject,’ Pandiraj suggested, and Milton took the plunge.

The title

 “If you scratch the surface you would understand that all of us are in search of an identity. If 10,000 people know Vijay Milton, ten times the number, are familiar with a name like P.C. Sreeram. So inadvertently I start moving towards that goal. The film is about four friends employed to carry goods at the Koyambedu market, who begin to seek an identity for themselves.”

But why call it Goli Soda? “It’s a colourless liquid and when opened with force, its fizz is like energy that erupts all of a sudden. The boys have similar characteristics,” explains Milton.

Koyambedu as backdrop

 Milton observed this segment of workers at Koyambedu market for quite a while before he got his script ready. “They sleep on the shelves meant for vegetables and fruits at the shops in the market, and their work begins at two in the morning. Each moves at least 60 bags into the market, after which they sleep through the day.” Around 10,000 boys work here, the number of shops is 3,500 and you have a whole lot of auto and lorry drivers moving in and out of Koyambedu every day. “It is an all-male world out there.”

Vijay Milton was worried about the feasibility of shooting in the crowded area. Director Abavaanan helped him secure the necessary permission and five hidden cameras placed in vantage positions enabled them to complete schedules without the people there even realising that shooting was going on!

Boys are back

 The small boys of Pasanga — Kishore, Sriram, Pandi and Murugesh — are adolescents now. And as they are studying, shooting could be done only in fits and starts. “I’ve shot for a whole year, only on weekends,” Milton says.

The boys were left in the market to get used to the place. “They actually worked in the shops there, and none knew that they were actors playing characters or that cameras were cranking them.” Chandini, again a Class XI student, plays the heroine. Around 60 girls had auditioned for the role before Milton zeroed in on her.

 Mud, stains, grime and gore seem the formula for small-budget realistic cinema. Will we see the same in Goli Soda? “Not at all, it isn’t sad or sober, but full of zest and energy as the title suggests. The boys have fun but in their own way.  Goli Soda is a peep into the lives of people whom we know very little about — behind their rough exteriors lie warm hearts. Have you seen the first floor of the Koyambedu market? It’s huge and well-lit. I’ve shown it beautifully without making it seem dirty. As for the story, it has a strong positive slant,” he explains.

For the first time

Milton makes particular mention of the seven-minute fight sequence in Goli Soda that has been filmed as a single shot. “It has never been done in any part of the world before, as far as I understand. In Hollywood it has been attempted once but even there fighters made their entry one after the other. Here I felt breaking the sequence could affect the excellent way in which it had been composed. So you will see the attire of actors getting naturally soiled at every stage of the fight. It wasn’t easy but the result has been gratifying,” smiles Milton. “Goli Soda is an honest film.”

The humorous ad campaign on what a movie trailer means to the man on the street kindle interest in Goli Soda and so does its strong web presence on Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites. The appearance of T. Rajendar, ‘Power Star’ and Sam Anderson in a promo song has you in splits.

 So if the hilarity of the two-minute teaser that has garnered more than 1,50,000 hits is a yard stick to go by, then publicity for Goli Soda is on the right track. The result, of course, we’ll know soon.