Almost every one nurtures a dream of making a film. Three film makers tell K. Jeshi how they made theirs come true
In just two days, director Kamala Kannan received friend requests from 400 people on Facebook. This, after he spoke to a packed audience on independent cinema recently. “Engineers, doctors, BPO employees…everyone is buzzing with ideas and they have sent YouTube links of their works to me. Every one wants to make films independently,” says the filmmaker, who made his debut with an independent film Madhubaanakadai.
“Chennai is no longer the only destination for those with cinema dreams. Digital cameras have set us free from a complicated production process. Anyone from anywhere can tell a story. What they need to learn is filmmaking techniques, aesthetics, and ideologies. We plan to have workshops on production, script writing, acting, direction, cinematography, sound, editing, and art direction, besides film distribution, an area where independent films suffer.” Kamala Kannan is exploring alternative revenue generation through original DVD releases and Pay Per Watch on YouTube uploads. He also plans to take independent films to festivals. “We are promoting Madhubaanakadai this way now,” he says. Kamal recalls how making Madhubaanakadai independently without any backing from a production house was satisfying.
Along with him, director S. Naveen, whose first film Moodar Koodam (a black comedy) won critical acclaim, and director Nalan Kumarasamy who made the superhit Soodhu Kavvum, shared their stories. “Many producers rejected my script,” recalls Naveen. “Some were puzzled that it didn’t follow a narrative of an opening song, action, and romance while a few others questioned why I insisted on animation for a 2-minute song in the film. I refused to budge as I was confident about my script and trusted the audience,” he says. Naveen started off as an assistant to director Chimbudevan for films such as Imsai Arasan 23 aam Pulikesi and later worked with director Pandiraj on his award-winning film Pasanga.
Lure of cinema
“Every individual in Tamil Nadu has some kind of cinema mogam. Only a few of them chase the dreams with passion. Digital revolution is a blessing. And the film industry is no longer dictated by tycoons. While making Moodar Koodam, I turned obstacles into opportunities and conveyed my thoughts on the screen exactly the way I wanted to. I wanted people to enjoy the comedy and also look at the deeper social, political and philosophical aspect of the film. I am happy with the response,” he says. On black comedies being the flavour of the season, Naveen says films like Pesum Padam and Aboorva Sagodarargal have already dealt with the topic. “Make an entertaining film, bring people to the theatres, and convey a social thought. In one of the scenes in my film, I show how parents sometimes treat their children badly. Many parents called me to say that that have stopped insulting their children. It was gratifying,” says Naveen, who says his acting debut in the lead role of the film was purely accidental. “What we need to explore is selling and distribution channels for our films.”
Nalan Kumarasamy urges filmmakers to log on to the Internet to read up on cinema, participate in forums on film making and network with filmmakers from across the country.
“I started my journey from there. Approach film making with seriousness rather than making a casual attempt. Watch films in all genres. In Tamil films, we still haven’t explored genres like science fiction, and fantasy in a big way. Once you watch classics, and learn about great masters, it humbles you and inspires you to make something extraordinary.”
Cinema Club of Coimbatore will organise ‘Cinema Tourism’ for the upcoming International film festival in Kerala in December. Kamala Kannan says it’s an opportunity to interact with masters from across the world. There may be as many as 300 visual experiences of films of which more than 50 per cent are independent films. One can pick up valuable lessons on technology, production values and ideas. Documentary producers also come for the festival and it is an opportunity to explore that genre too. One can pick and choose the best of world cinema on subjects as varied as partition, war, ethnicity and women. Such films give rise to new ideas. To know more, call: 09443578887