Sunil Nair, director of Ehsaas, talks about his debut short film that will be screened as part of the sixth IDSFFK 2013 in the city.

Techie Sunil Nair had stars in his eye and cinema in his dreams. Long working hours did not spell an end to his cinema aspirations. He logged in during his spare hours to learn various aspects of film-making, right from developing one-liners to grading the films. Son of a naval office, Sunil studied in various places in India but music and films remained a constant all through. Even after he relocated to Dubai after completing his higher education in Kerala, cinema was never far away from his heart. So when he came across a story that he felt had the potential to be turned into a movie, he was more than ready to call the shots. And his debut short film, Ehsaas, is going places.

Based on a Malayalam short story ‘Arranged Marriage’, written by Jayan Rajan, author of the book Pension, Ehsaas, made in Hindi, tells the tale of relationships. “I wanted to make a short film that had an element of social significance, especially those based on relationships. That is when I came across my friend Jayan’s story. Hindi was the preferred medium as I was hoping to reach a larger audience because of the importance of the subject,” says Sunil in an e-mail interview.

Shot completely in Dubai, Ehsaas is the story of Aditya and Anushka, both of who have gone through divorces early in their lives. Despite being successful in his career, Adi feels there is something missing in his life and decides to put up an ad in a matrimonial website. Among other people, Anu answers the ad and the two have several conversations over the phone before deciding to meet. “At the core of Ehsaas is the conversation that takes place between them in a cafe and the impact the meeting has on them. The characters of Adi and Anu are played by Priyesh Kumar and Kaveta Rana. Both of them are based in Dubai and have theatre and television background. Kaveta is also the co-writer of the screenplay and dialogues,” explains Sunil.

Sunil believes that since human relationships form the core fabric of any society, there is always something intriguing about them that makes such stories always relevant. “Although Ehsaas is a very simple film in terms of its narrative, it was a challenge because 80 per cent of the film is a conversation between Adi and Anu. As they share their experiences in life, we begin to see various shades of emotions. That's precisely what drew me to Jayan's story,” says Sunil.

Produced by Mini Sarma, Ehsaas was filmed by Sujith Sarang, a Chennai-based cinematographer. The background score was composed by Jakes Bejoy in Los Angeles. Incidentally, Mini has worked with most of the top Malayalam directors such as Ranjith, Kamal, Siddique, Priyadarshan and Anwar Rasheed.

As with many cinephiles, Sunil hopes to helm a feature film.

“I strongly believe that the script is the backbone of any film. So we are teaming up with one of the best writers in Malayalam for our project. Unfortunately, I can't reveal anything more at this stage,” he signs off.

Homecoming

The world premiere of Ehsaas was at the 4th Indian International Film festival of Tampa Bay, Florida. “I have been looking forward to screen the film in India too. So I'm absolutely thrilled at the prospects of screening it in Thiruvananthapuram, my hometown,” says Sunil. The film is in the international section of the sixth edition of the International Documentary and Short Film Festival (IDSFFK 2013) of Kerala that begins today.

I am inspired by …

So many… Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and so on. In Malayalam, I'm a huge fan of the late Padmarajan and Shaji N. Karun.