Author and activist Meena Kandasamy is smitten!
Swept off her feet completely by Maya, the female protagonist of Malayalam screenplay ‘Oralpokkam’, the intrepid writer has decided to essay the character on screen.
Blogger and poet Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, whose short film ‘Frog’ won rave reviews and awards, is scripting and directing the movie. Noted actor Prakash Bare, who co-produced the critically-acclaimed Papilio Buddha, is playing the male lead.
Reasons Ms. Kandasamy about her decision to act in the film: “I read the script along with a few friends. The screenplay itself was so poetic and I think if it translates to film, it would be beautiful. I liked the female lead, Maya, she’s as volatile as she’s firm. She stands her ground even as she is someone who’s very much in love. She’s fierce and independent, and the kind of strong and sensual woman you want to see on the screen. While, the trials and the tortured anguish of the male protagonist are Kafkaesque. I quite can’t find another word to describe it. I think anyone who has ever loved and lost will quite relate to what this man goes through.”
‘Oralpokkam’ is an unconventional but honest take on the man-woman relationship and part of it is slated to be shot in the flood-ravaged Kedarnath. The ruined landscape plays a part in the film, says Mr. Sasidharan.
Like his outing in the short-movie segment, the full-length feature will also be made under the banner of Kazhcha Film Forum, a collective of film-lovers.
To Mr. Bare, the sincerity of the maker’s effort apart, participatory filmmaking holds a special attraction. “Instead of merely seeking donations, we intend to make each contributor a part and parcel of the filmmaking process. While some may chip in with technical support, some may help distribute the movie by buying internet rights. There’s a need to evolve a culture of collective film-making,” he says.
At the heart of the multi-lingual film — with dialogues in Tamil, English, Hindi and Malayalam — is a love story, “but it is a love story that is also a clash of egos. That’s why most of the action in the movie happens in the imaginary, hallucinatory, surreal plane,” says Ms. Kandasamy.
Loss of love and the pain that accompanies it is something that anyone can relate to. The surreal aspect of the film is ‘enticing’ and ‘beautiful’ because “we live so much more in our minds than we live in the real, actual world”.
“The script is refreshing. There’s a complete absence of melodrama. Maya is a presence throughout the movie but she’s there in just a dozen scenes. I like that. I think life is like that. Little things can cast long shadows. Thankfully for me, it’s not like there’s too much acting or too much dialogue or stuff like that involved,” she says.
That it is her maiden attempt at acting could turn out to be the movie’s strength. “The fact that commercial ingredients did not have to be added to it because of the demands of the market… I think there’s a tradition of indie filmmaking that goes a long, long way anyway. Spontaneity, in real life at least, takes more courage to pull off, than putting on rehearsed mannerisms, doesn’t it?” she asks. Kazhcha Film Forum is putting up a website, www.kazhcha.com as an outreach measure as also to solicit funds for the venture. Filming is slated to begin on November 17.