Movies

A short film festival on road safety in Coimbatore

This was the hard-hitting question that underpinned the award winning short films made on road safety by a bunch of young film makers

A deserted highway at night, an over speeding bike, a rider without a helmet...sounds familiar? How about a ‘ghost’ on a pillion? The 30-second short film Hell-Mate jolts you. V N Navneesh, a visual communication student and director of the film Hell-Mate emaerged as the winner at a short film contest organised by Uyir, an NGO that works towards bringing down road accidents and deaths. “Riding without a helmet can be fatal. Follow road rules is the message I wanted to convey,” says the young filmmaker. The hitchhiking ghost was to lend an added impact,” he says.

The contest received over 100 entries from across India and the films competed in three categories – 30 seconds, one minute and three minute. Artist R. Rajhu’s Naerkodu, a graphic presentation on road safety became the runner up in the 30-seconds category. He also submitted a three-minute film called Sambavam where he recreates a police investigation of a road accident through a rap song.

“The potholes and flex boards are the accused, while the traffic signal and the dumpyard are silent spectators,” says Rajhu. The three-minute film Kayal Vizhi urges you to follow rules before it's too late. It emerged as the winner in its category. Gowtham Selvaraj who directed the film uses a non-linear style. A blind man narrates his experience to a rash bike rider about how he lost his five-year-old daughter Kayal Vizhi in a road accident. “It is a wake-up call,” says Gowtham. S. Sriram's music adds to the dimension of the movie.

A short film festival on road safety in Coimbatore

The runner up in this category is S.Pratheeksha's Vazhipokkan. “Why are we so careless?” she asks. “The number of road accidents and lives lost is alarming. In my film, actor Livingston and Youtuber Harija play the lead roles. My protagonist wears a helmet but doesn’t strap the buckles. When her bike collides with a car, the helmet is thrown off leaving her with a head injury.”

The film is edited by R. Karuppusamy who says, “We have used drone shots and montage shots, and tried using the camera differently to show the gravity of the accident.” Pratheeksha spent a day at busy arterial roads to film Vazhipokkan. “I was shocked. There is no regard for road rules. People jump traffic signals. I saw a mother-daughter duo on a bike. The girl was not wearing a helmet. Isn't her daughter's life at stake?”

Thaduppan, directed by K. Udhaya Kumar and M. Ram, G. Udhayaraj, A. Azhar is the runner up in the one-minute category. “Most two wheelers attempt a zigzag jump around the speed breakers. My own brother had a fall when he tried the stunt,” says Azhar. “We used minimal dialogues,” says Udhaya Kumar.

More about Uyir
  • Uyir’s mission is to make Coimbatore accident-free. Sanjay Jayavarthanavelu, Chairman and Managing Director of Lakshmi Machines Works is the Chairman of Uyir. Besides investing in infrastructure to ensure road safety it also encourages public participation in its on-road activities. They have UYIR clubs to motivate college students and Kutty Cops for school students.
  • “Uyir is a people’s movement,” says Dr. S. Rajasekaran, director of Ganga Hospitals and Managing Trustee of Uyir. “We have to create awareness by engaging with the public . When the cops advise the riders to wear helmets, they don’t like it. At the same time, when it comes from a college mate or a member of the public, they listen and that makes a lot of difference. We are connecting` with the youth. When the college students participate in our awareness campaigns they ensure that they and their families abide by road rules. When our Kutty Cops start driving, they will be the responsible ones.”The short film contest, he says is a part of the move to bring in public involvement. “It’s a learning exercise for the film makers too. They will be careful about following road rules.” The top six films will be certified, and will be screened at cinema halls.
  • The short film competition was held with the Department of Visual Communication, Rathinam College of Arts and Science.The films are available on YouTube

There is also a sweet tale of a pet rushing with the helmet for the owner in Uyir Kaapan, made by a team of S. Harish. M. Periyasamy, G. Prasath and M. Chandru. “It is inspired from real life. My dog ensures that I never step out without my helmet,” says Periyasamy. “We don't over speed. It is after all for our own good.” The film won the first prize.

Special mentions

A bunch of films got a special mention. Watch Out, is one of them C. Udhayanin who did the music says it was a challenging task. “I visited busy market areas to record live sounds of cars honking and chaotic traffic and later edited it and used it in the film. While driving, riding or even walking, talking on mobile phones, listening to music...can be fatal. That is the message of the film.”

Other films are Naama Sonna Yaaru Kekkura is made by D. Aravindsamy and edited by I. Kathirkaiyon, both from Puducherry University. It shows three individuals, one driving a car with his mind consumed by family and office stress, another one playing PUB G game while driving, and the third one on his phone while riding his bike. “The three of them collide and are killed. We used Ilaiyaraaja’s music to build the drama. We used cinematic cuts to build the pace of the story.”

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 11:08:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/a-short-film-festival-on-road-safety-in-coimbatore/article30792006.ece

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