Sharan Venugopal and Arjun Venugopal, engineering students from the city, screened their short film at Thailand International Film Destination Festival 2013

For Sharan Venugopal and Arjun Venugopal, third-year mechanical engineering students of Mohandas College of Engineering and Technology, films have been a passion. But they never thought that it would take them to Thailand one day where they would get to showcase their talent.

The duo represented India at the first edition of the Thailand International Film Destination Festival 2013 that was on from April 1 to 10. The festival, jointly organised by the Thailand Film Division and the tourism department of the country, screens works that are shot in Thailand by filmmakers from all over the world. Sharan and Arjun took part in the short film competition, ‘Amazing Thailand Film Challenge’, based on the theme ‘Beauty of Thailand’. Although they did not win any prize, the students cherish the opportunity and are happy to have received a certificate of appreciation.

“The opportunity just landed in our hands. I heard about the festival and the contest from a friend of mine who works at the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy. I wrote a script and sent it to the organisers. It got selected and they asked me to come over to Thailand with a team member and shoot the movie. I chose Arjun because he had handled the camera for a short film that I did earlier. They took care of our travel and accommodation and we were given Rs. 60,000 (30,000 Thai Bhat) to shoot the film,” says Sharan.

Sharan’s script was among the 50 scripts selected from over 1,600 applications from across the world. “It was a great opportunity. I wrote the script after doing a lot of research about the country on the Internet. It was set against Buddhist temples in Thailand. It is about a foreigner who meets a Buddhist monk and how his life changes after that,” Sharan explains.

What came in handy was his experience in making two short films, Rethink and Hidden in Plain Sight.

The film, titled Patipada (The Path), was shot mainly in Bangkok. Sharan played the part of the foreigner and he got an actor from Thailand to play the monk. “Different teams were given different locations. We had asked for Bangkok and thankfully got it. We shot in Wat Arun temple, Lumphini Park, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Metallic Castle and Khaosan Road. We stayed there for 12 days and the film was shot in six days,” says Sharan, who directed and edited the seven-minute movie.

The duo can’t stop gushing about the reception they got in Thailand. “It was as if we were celebrities. Everything was well-organised, we were treated like diplomats. The country itself is amazing. It was exciting to do post-production work such as editing and dubbing in a studio there,” Sharan says.

The movie was screened along with other entries at a multiplex on April 9 and they also attended a red carpet award ceremony attended by renowned filmmakers, actors and technicians around the globe.