“Do you pay for each of the programme you watch on television?” This question, which might be technically wrong considering the monthly receipt from the cable service provider, led to the making of the film Test Paper, an attempt at ‘sponsored film-making’.

So, what is in it for the viewers? Just that, they do not need to queue up at the counter to get the ticket. They can just walk in, find a nice seat and enjoy the film for free. On Friday, at Sree Theatre, only theatre the film was released, a small crowd who had heard about the experiment gathered to catch the first show of the film.

S. Vinod Kumar, director of the film, told The Hindu that watching the film on screen was the fulfilment of his dream of many years.

“I have been working in this industry for close to two decades, from making tele-serials to assisting film-makers. Even this film, I started off with the idea of making it as a serial. When I narrated it to S. Manoj Kumar, the producer, he suggested the idea of making a sponsored film,” says Mr. Vinod Kumar.

Most of the hard work for the film was in marketing and finding buyers, rather than in the making itself. “We finished the shooting around nine days. But for the past one year, we have been running around to find sponsors so that we could bring this to the theatre. Convincing people was pretty hard, as they were sceptical of this unheard of idea,” says he says.

The sponsors, numbering 14, include government undertakings as well as private companies. “This could be a model for the makers of smaller films, who find it hard to get their work to the theatres,” says Mr. Manoj Kumar.

The film will be screened all through this week at Sree Theatre in the four regular time slots.