A young crew makes a period short film, which has been shortlisted among the top five at the prestigious Vijay Awards

Many short film directors are making a successful transition to feature films on experimental themes, and they have clearly begun to inspire a whole lot of budding filmmakers to follow in their footsteps.

A young cast and crew from the Hindusthan College of Arts and Science in the city are doing just that. Their 18-minute short film, Mullin Nizhalum Kuthitru focuses on the people of Ramanathapuram district and how their occupations and lives are affected by the severe drought of 1989.

This film has now been shortlisted along with four other films at the prestigious Vijay Awards from over 2,000 entries. It has won them critical acclaim from the panellists and a few actors.

With the subject requiring in-depth research, the director, assistant director and other members of the crew read a lot of books, made several trips to the village and interacted with the people who experienced the famine.

As some of the members had prior exposure to the industry, it came in handy. Cinematographer Ajay Adith has already acted in the 2012 romantic drama Raattinam, and handled the camera adeptly for this film. ‘Vengai’ Raj worked on the sound designing for the film.

Made on a modest budget, the making of the film had it’s fair share of challenges. “We wanted to shoot the film at the actual locations affected by the drought, but were limited by financial constraints. That is when we decided to shoot in the outskirts of the city,” says Bala.

The film was shot in outskirts like Chettipalayam and Thondamuthur, which are both largely unaffected by globalisation. Being factually accurate was their main focus.

“We wanted to be accurate to the last detail as any slip up in the facts would affect the entire narration. We used the help of a lot of books and newspaper archives to ensure this accuracy,” explains Bala.

It took the crew a year to complete the film, and the video footage had to be trimmed down to 20 minutes. They also used colour grading to make the scenes resemble the late 80s.

“We put in all efforts to ensure that this would resemble a feature film in terms of both its technical and aesthetic aspects. We are confident of making a mark in feature films in the coming years and this will set us on that path. Short film directors like Karthik Subburaj and Nalan Kumarasamy, who created a buzz with their recent feature films are our inspiration,” says Bala.

Plans are on to screen Mullin Nizhalum Kuthitru at various film festivals around the country.

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