Director Vendhan, winner of Naalaya Iyakkunar Season 4 made all his seven films for the competition in Coimbatore

It’s been a dream run for director Vendhan. His short film Kaatru emerged the winner at the Naalaya Iyakkunar season 4, a popular short-film competition on Kalaignar TV. Besides this all his short films made for the competition walked away with awards for acting, direction, editing and cinematography.

Female perspective

Kaatru deals with feminism,” says R. Ezhil Vendhan, who is from Pudukottai. “Four male writers portray a woman — as a murderous call-centre employee, as a woman who attacks in an inebriated state, as a traditional woman and as the victim of an acid attack,” explains the director.

Vendhan works as a software engineer in Bangalore and shuttles between his profession and passion. “Sundara Travels (starring Murali and Vadivelu), where the characters convert a damaged bus into their home, inspired me to make films. It ran for 50 days; that’s when I explored the idea of making a film inside a room,” he recalls. When he was working in the U.S., he pursued film making actively over the weekends. “I volunteered to assist production teams of TV shows. It gave me an opportunity to meet independent film makers and learn about script writing,” says Vendhan.

In 2008, he returned to India and made his first short film Erithazhal Paravaigal (Phoenix birds) that dealt with the killing of fishermen who ventured into prohibited territory. It won the award for best film and best screenplay at the Canada Tamil film festival. “That was the only film I shot outside Coimbatore. All my seven films for Naalaya Iyakkunar were shot here.”

Kurukku Vettu Thotram (cross-section view), his first film for the competition is a commentary on exploitation of children on TV shows. He shot it at Ukkadam. It features a poor girl who wants to study. “TV channels make her dream come true by taking her to a school for just a day for better TRPs.”

His second film Kadasiyila Paatha Kaadhal, a romantic comedy shot at Botanical Garden, Hope College and Ramnagar, got two lakh hits of YouTube and was shared 30,000 times on Facebook. “It is about a couple in a troubled marriage who want to iron out their differences by revisiting the places they frequented as lovers,” he narrates.

Experimenting with genres

While his film Kaarkalam experimented with the horror genre, Thummal criticised the rigid hierarchical structure of the police department. Another film Kalamaadum Soodhu tackled ego clashes over a game of snooker. “It won the best film of the season award and won appreciation for the stylish making too,” he mentions. Kodiyor Seyal Arave set in 1975 in Yazhpaanam is about unrest among Tamil students and is based on a real incident.

He chose Coimbatore because the city has all the resources, camera equipment on hire, dubbing studios, and scenic locations. “Also, with a digital camera and a Windows or Mac system, one can make a film and edit it. My entire technical team is from Coimbatore,” says the film maker. He is inspired by Stanley Kuberick’s The shining, A Clockwork Orange, and Kim Duk Duk’s Spring Summer Fall Winter. Vendhan is currently working on a script for a thriller film. He says the future looks bright for independent films. “Offbeat films such as Pizza, Soodhu Kavvum and Moodar Koodam co-exist and run successfully along with mass entertainers. What indie films need is a proper distribution channel.”