As Madhubaanakadai releases on August 2, director Kamala Kannan and his team recount the making of the film

The drama unfolds in a wine shop. A TASMAC bar is the hero. A Canon 7D tracks the action. “But, there is no structured storyline,” insists director S. Kamala Kannan about his film Madhubaanakadai, releasing on August 2. Shot at a single location — a wine shop erected in Pethampalayam near Perundurai — the film strings funny incidents that take place inside the shop in a day. The characters visiting the shop take the story forward.

“This work is inspired by what we’ve seen around us. We democratised the filmmaking technique, which gave us a lot of freedom. The camera travels as a character. In one of the shots, it even gets knocked down,” he says.

Everyone in the team, including the artistes (most of them newcomers, some of whom were picked up from wine shops!), were involved in the aesthetics and techniques of filmmaking. “We rehearsed on the set to soak in the ambience of the wine shop.”

To acquaint the amateur actors with the camera, all of them were made to enact the same character. Their expressions were projected on a screen to show them what they looked like, make them aware of the filmmaking process and to enable them to travel with the characters. They employed the ‘hide and shoot’ technique too.

Kamala Kannan’s journey started with watching good films. “We set up our film society Cinema Club of Coimbatore to promote film appreciation. We feel happy we are trendsetters of sorts — a film society has made a commercial film! We’ve kept the audience in mind while making the film — we want them to enjoy it as much as we did,” he says.

Novel techniques

Cinematographer Sumee Bhaskar says novel techniques have been used in the film. For instance, the transformation in character travel (whenever a new character is introduced, the camera focusses on him/her, a technique seen in films such as Casino). “For photography and scripting, we took references from wine shops and paid attention to the dark ambience, the ‘chalna’ shop that sells snacks and also the lighting. Different lenses were used to define a character as all the details had to be told within a scene. We did spot editing which was helpful.”

Avis Immanuel, VFX and post-production head, says they have tried to keep everything real. “There are no gimmicks. The challenge has been to retain originality. We went in for lengthy shots. The dialogues in the Kongu dialect are another highlight; you will laugh throughout the film,” he assures.

Art director Vinomirthath (who also plays the role of Mannu Mirthath) says many villagers took the set for real and demanded liquor. “They even complained to the police that we were not supplying liquor,” he remembers. “The audience will get to know how unclean a wine shop is.”

The music is different too. “What we offer is unadulterated, authentic folk music,” says music director Ved Shanker Sugavanam. “We have stayed true to the sounds of urumi, thappattai, thavil and nadaswaram. The score also explores genres such as Western, folk, romance and rock. For re-recording, we’ve used Western orchestration to lend colour to the rustic characters. It’s going to be a new experience for the audience,” he promises.

For photography and scripting, we took references from wine shops and paid attention to the dark ambience, the ‘chalna’ shop that sells snacks and also the lighting

Sumee Bhaskar, cinematographer