Deepak Ravindran, CEO, Innoz Technologies, turns film producer. His short film Boneshaker premièred at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival
Everyone should have a bucket list – a list of things that you just have to do, well, before you kick the bucket. One of those who is almost religious about ticking off things on his bucket list that’s he’s named ‘30 things to do before 30’ is young techie Deepak Ravindran, chief executive officer (CEO), Innoz Technologies. Right up there in the list that includes, among others, running a marathon, winning the global science venture competition, flying a Sukhois and/or MiGs, meeting the Google guys, learning to play the guitar and (but, of course) becoming a billionaire, is the dream to produce a Hollywood movie. Deepak’s dream came true recently when he produced the short film Boneshaker, written and directed by New York-based Ghanaian filmmaker Frances Bodomo. Boneshaker premièred at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, arguably the most prestigious film fete in the United States (U.S.) for short films from that country.
“I’m super excited that I was part of the venture and that Boneshaker was selected for Sundance, which is famous for showcasing indie films and famous for discovering directors such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Darren Aronofsky, Quentin Tarantino, and Steven Soderbergh, to name a few,” says Deepak, over the phone.
Apparently, for this year’s Sundance fete 8,102 short films were submitted and only 60 films were selected. “The acceptance rate for short films into the Sundance roster is less than one percent, so yes, this is a momentous achievement for the entire cast and crew of Boneshaker,” says Deepak.
He got in touch with the movie team through his good friend Shruti Ganguly, who is one of the producers of the movie. “I met up with Frances and the rest of the crew while I was in New York in November 2011. I was intrigued by the storyline,” says Deepak.
One of India’s youngest CEOs, Deepak co-founded Innoz along with college-mates Abhinav Sree, Aswin Nath, and Mohammad Hisamuddin from LBS College of Engineering, Kasaragod. Innoz, a mobile apps company, was the first virtually incubated company in India, incubated by Technopark under its Technological Business Incubator initiative.
According to a note from the director, which Deepak shared with MetroPlus: “Boneshaker (starring nine-year-old American actor Quvenzhané Wallis in the lead) follows a Ghanaian immigrant family taking a road trip to a Pentecostal church in Louisiana to find a cure for their problem child. As the family journeys to a tent revival (a gathering of Christian worshippers in a tent erected specifically for revival meetings and healing crusades) in a remote part of the State, they discover the complications of trying to perform a traditional ritual away from home. Boneshaker focusses on the feelings of homelessness, landlessness, and rootlessness that accompanies immigration. It’s a film for the new generation – global nomads, third-culture kids, forever-travelers who feel this nostalgia for a space they never had”.
It seems like the producing bug has well and truly bit Deepak. He also recently produced Sattrendu Maaruth Vaanilai, a musical short film by Dreaming Nomads, a Kerala-based group of film enthusiasts. “Boneshaker is a side project that I got involved with outside Innoz – the company itself has nothing to do with the project. It’s still focussed on mobile apps. The same is the case with Sattendru Maaruth Vaanilai. We, the four founders of Innoz, have decided to put some cash from our personal money aside for such projects as we are fond of helping young talents with their creative pursuits.” So, any other films in the works? A major Hollywood movie perhaps? Directing? Acting? “At the moment, no,” says Deepak with a smile. Well, there’s always the bucket list.
Wooing with music
Of late, short films seem to be the most favoured creative pursuit for enterprising youngsters. Among the most prolific of the lot is a group of (mostly) film enthusiasts, mostly IT guys, who call themselves Dreaming Nomads. The group has come out with a 14-minute musical short film titled Sattrendu Maaruth Vaanilai (SMV), which has gone viral online, garnering more than 77,000 hits since it was released on YouTube less than a week ago.
“SMV is the sequel to our three-minute short Nenjukkul Peidhidhum Mamazhai, which was released last year,” says Abraham Joseph a.k.a Abrooz, the director of both the films. A graphic designer and photographer, Abrooz quit the IT field to concentrate on Dreaming Nomads, which is currently involved in online marketing activities. “All of us are movie buffs with big dreams of making it in filmdom. We sort of gravitated towards each other via Facebook and decided to follow up our passion of making movies,” says Abrooz, who is based at Adoor. The other members of the group hail from across the State and come together for projects.
SMV tells the story of chubby Pappan (played by group member Bimal S. Parayil, an engineer from Thrissur) and his ultimately futile efforts to woo his lady love, Tessy, by learning to play ‘Nenjukkul Peidhidum...’, the popular love song from Tamil flick Varanam Aayiram, on his guitar. Only Pappan doesn’t know how to play the instrument. Pappan and his guitar are also the leads of Pappanum Goayum, another short film by the crew made in between the two films.
“The idea for the first part – about a guy learning to play the guitar – hit Anu John David, one of our group members, while we were on a trip to Munnar. The film got a good reception when it was released last February and we thought it would be interesting to do an extended version of it,” says Abrooz. Rajesh Subramanyan, another member has cranked the camera.