Cinema Newcomer Harshad’s Dayom Panthrandum maps unexpected twists and turns on an adventurous journey undertaken by a group of youngsters to an unknown destination. Jabir Mushthari
Is it a ‘new generation’ film? One can’t help but wonder seeing the hype that surrounds Dayom Panthrandum , its posters, stills, cast, theme… “Ask me this question after you watch the movie,” says director Harshad rather cryptically.
Dayom Panthrandum is Harshad’s first feature film, which follows a series of award-winning short films. The film is at present in the post-production stage and will most probably premiere in the New Year.
“This is the fifth script I wanted to make a movie with. My last project Ameya , which was planned with Ananya in the lead, was put on hold,” says the young director from Kozhikode.
Dayom Panthrandum is the name of a game played mostly by elderly people in the rural and coastal regions of Malabar. The game is played using a handful of sea shells. Points scored depend on the fashion and position in which the sea shells fall after they are tossed in the air by the players. The game often has unexpected twists and turns. “The film shares several characteristics with the game such as its unpredictability, adventure, thrill… all rolled into one,” says Harshad.
The film stars newcomers and the director says it was a deliberate choice. “I wanted it that way. What I wanted to tell, I thought, could be told more engagingly with relatively unexplored actors. In fact, they are not new to acting. They all have a background in theatre,” says Harshad, who had handpicked his actors from an acting camp he organised before the shooting began. “This way, it gives me the absolute freedom to work with them and get what exactly I wanted for the movie,” says the director.
Dayom Panthrandum attempts, in novel ways, to bring to life the thrills and uncertainties of an adventurous journey by a group of youngsters to an unknown destination. While four of them are in a car, the ‘Boss’ of the group is on a bike, alone, as if expecting a pillion rider at any moment. The pillion rider is the key element in the story. Is it a road movie then? “Let’s not be obsessed with the urge to judge, name and limit the possibilities of a film into a particular genre,” he says.
Dayom Panthrandum is also a statement of an emerging filmmaker against a lot of set notions about budgeting, casting, shooting and a lot of other things associated with film production. “I had to deal with detractors and dissuaders on a daily basis, but I also had those who always stood with me,” says Harshad.
He stands for a minimalist approach in production. “Hence, I always find it hard to convince a producer about the relatively lower cost my movie would incur,” says Harshad, who believes in “precision spending” while producing a movie, which he thinks is “almost unknown” to the industry.
“If you are very clear about what you have to say and how you are going to say it, then part of the job is done,” he says, adding: “It’s also an attempt to prove that meaningful films can be produced in unconventional ways with unexplored talents.”
Dayom Panthrandum was shot in Pollachi and Wayanad, with three simultaneous 7D cameras. “I hope it will set a trend in filmmaking,” says Harshad, a disciple of veteran scriptwriter John Paul.