'Naanudaimai' short film: All for goodness

A 27-minute short film Naanudaimai made by Bhaskaran of Kovai Film Society is going places

February 15, 2018 11:19 am | Updated 11:24 am IST

“To err is human; But one has to realise that and the resulting feeling of guilt should prevent one from repeating that,” says SPP Bhaskaran who has written and directed a short film on the topic titled Naanudaimai (Compunction). “ Naanudaimai is the name of the 102nd chapter in Thirukkural, ” he explains.

The 27-minute film made it to the official selection of Top Shorts, an IMDB qualifying festival that was recently ranked eighth Best Reviewed Festival out of over 4,000 of the world’s finest. It also ranked first in the online festivals by Film Freeway. “We are sending the film to over 60 online short film festivals,” says Bhaskaran.

Naanudaimai is shot in the backdrop of abundant greenery, towering hills, and a farm house complete with goats and cows, at Ramanathapuram near Pannimadai in Coimbatore. The protagonist is a student of an international school who comes from a troubled home. His father drinks and gambles and it is his mother who is in charge of the house. “The film is about childhood and parenting. The driving factor for making the film is to spread awareness among parents to pay extra attention to their children,” says Bhaskaran.

The protagonist of Naanudaimai( played by child actor Abhay) sets his own rules. When the students in his class sing Tamil Thaai Vazhthu (they keep the book open to read the lines!) and National Anthem at the start of the day, Abhay naps on the roof. At home, he is hooked to the cellphone and sometimes enjoys the companionship of goats and cows at his farm. But after school hours, he plays cards with older men under a banyan tree. When his mom finds out and warns him, he throws the cards away. But, has he really reformed? Is he guilty? That’s the question that lingers long after the film ends.

Karthik Muthukumar is the film’s cinematographer. Rajeesh Saseendaran, who has worked with Kamal Hassan on his his recent Pothy’s advertisement and the Big Boss reality show promos, has done the sound and sync sound, while editing is by M. K. P. Giridharan. “All of them are big names. But they took minimal pay to work on my film.”

Bhaskaran, who founded the Kovai Film Society (KFS) says he wants to show children good cinema and bring world cinema to the common man. In this endeavour, he screens Hollywood classics, documentaries and short films over the weekends. Sundays are for children. KFS has had several children’s festivals. He has screened films like Majidi Majid’s Children of Heaven,Wadjda (Saudi Arabia), Viva Cuba (Cuba), The White Balloon (Iran), Bekas (Kurdish), Grave of the Fireflies (Japan) and Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (Bengali)…. “In one of the festivals, I chose 10 Indian films made on children. And, there was just one film Kaaka Muttai, in Tamil. The children wanted to see more. That’s when I realised the dearth of such films in Tamil. And, decided to make one. Naanudaimai is my first film and I plan to do more, may be even a trilogy,” he hints.

Filming Naanudaimai was very different from filming ad films that he is used to, says Bhaskaran. “ But our 10-member crew worked like a family. We stayed together at the village. The picturesque landscape in and around Pannimadai helped me plan my shots.”

He mentions a particular scene shot under a banyan tree. On one side of it were children from the Corporation School laughing, shouting and playing as they waited for the State Transport Bus. On the other side, in stark contrast were the children of the international school who stood in absolute stony silence accompanied by their parents. In another scene, a class is in progress under a banyan tree. “When the Tamil teacher asks them about Thiruvalluvar, the students only know about the Thriuvalluvar statue at Valluvar Kottam and Kanyakumari.” Bhaskar says it is time they know a little bit more about the Thirukkural.

Bhaskaran’s film is heavy with metaphors. There is a shot where a fully-loaded truck of bricks comes out of the kiln. “As the truck moves out, the school bus arrives on the scene loaded with children. I have left it to the audience to infer the meaning.” Bhaskaran also laughs at the trouble he had getting permission to film at the kiln. “They mistook us for some environment agency trying to film them and put them in trouble!”

Naanudaimai is a crowd-funded initiative, supported by friends on social media. “We worked with a limited budget. Now, we are short of funds. With support, we can send it to many more international short films festivals. I will be happy if some of the school managements come forward and support us.”

In School

All the school shots were taken at Ksir’s International Residential School campus where Bhaskar regularly screens children’s films

The interested schools can contact Bhaskaran if they want to show Naanudaimai to students as the link of the film cannot be uploaded online till the film completes its festival rounds

Call: 90039-17667 or e-mail:kfs.cinema@gmail.com

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