After writing the romantic drama Kurai Ondrum Illai, Karthik Ravi couldn’t find a single mainstream producer who was willing to bankroll his film. Once it became increasingly unlikely, Karthik decided to approach friends for funds. Around 60 cinephiles have invested anywhere between Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 5 lakh to produce this film whose budget is Rs. 1.5 crore.

“I sent my script to potential investors, who were mostly my friends,” says Karthik. Crowd funding is a concept popular in the West, but it is yet to gain popularity in India, especially when it comes to films. Karthik believes that crowd funding has the potential to become mainstream. He says, “If we can convince the investors about when they would get back their money, and the scope for making a profit, a lot more people, passionate about films, would be willing to fund films.”

What are the positives of raising funds through this method? “Since I was answerable to so many people, I instinctively tried to figure out cost-effective ways to get the film made. It can make the creative team more efficient,” he admits.

Kurai Ondrum Illai, directed by Karthik, stars Geethan and Haritha Parukod.

Listin to his plans

Despite his young age, the 27-year-old Listin Stephen’s production house Magic Frames has made a name for itself in the country. The producer, whose Malayalam film, Ustad Hotel, has won three National awards, including the one for the most popular film, is camping in Chennai as his first Tamil film Chennaiyil Oru Nal, a remake of the Malayalam super hit Traffic, is ready for release on March 29.

Listin and Sarath Kumar announced that they he would join hands to produce quality flicks in Tamil under the popular banner, “Magic Frames”. Speaking about the merger of Magic Frames and Sarath’s I Pictures at a press meet, Sarath said, “Listin has an eye for good scripts. He seems to understand the pulse of the audience.”

After co-producing the Tamil remake with Sarath, Listin said he was looking to remake his much-acclaimed Chaapa Kurishu in Tamil and a few straight Tamil films as well. Citing cost of production as a major difference between the Malayalam and Tamil film industries, Listin hoped that his vision would reap him profits and awards.

The producer, who has so far made three films, spoke about his future plans. “Just like how the big stars have a cult following, I want my production house too to have a cult following,” he said.

Slice of Chennai on screen

The team of Aal has managed to do something unthinkable. They have shot extensively on the busy roads of Chennai during peak hours as the police no longer entertain film crews. The places include the overcrowded slums of Kalyanapuram, the ever-busy Parry’s Corner and the Aminjikarai market. It must be borne in mind that veteran filmmaker K. Balachander was the last one to shoot in Parry’s Corner in the late 1970s.

“Getting the nod from the authorities was difficult. We had to give it in writing that the film shoot can be stopped anytime if need be,” says the producer, Vidiyal Raju.

Talking about Aal, which is about a day in the life of a guy after he lands at the airport in Chennai, Ananda Krishna, director of the film, said that the film was inspired by a critically acclaimed Hindi film dealing with terrorism. “It is an action-packed film,” says the director. Aal stars Vidhaarth and Haarthika Shetty, while Johan has composed the tunes. The film is likely to release in May.

No Pizza for them

Once Studio Green decided to co-produce Pizza II – The Villa, it became bigger. Now the news is that Vaibhav and Sanjitha Shetty, who were signed on to play the lead, have been dropped from the film, the reason, according to producer C. V. Kumar, being “it was Studio Green’s decision to make this film bigger and grander.”