A veteran’s indie start

As Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai is set to release later this week, his long-time assistant director Dinesh Selvaraj’s first feature film Naalu Peruku Nalladhuna Edhuvum Thappilla (NPNET), which hit the screens last Friday, is already gaining good word-of-mouth.

The film’s title itself is a nod to his mentor’s Nayakan (1987). “You won’t believe it, but we finalised this title from a list of more than 2,000 choices.” So what did Mani Ratnam think of it? “He smiled. And I know, from my 15 years of working with him, that it was an acknowledgement,” says Dinesh.

More than a year ago, Dinesh had uploaded a YouTube video, talking about making a crowd-funded film, Boomerang (which later became NPNET). “It was meant to signify that karma comes to hit back at you in strange ways.” Dinesh planned to collect amounts of ₹1,000 or ₹2,000 from a lot of people and give them tickets in return, but discovered it was more feasible to get investors who would pump in ₹1 lakh each. “In reality, it’s not such a huge amount for some. So we thought we’ll go ahead and take a risk.” His total budget came to around ₹1.25 crore. With his credentials, why didn’t any conventional producer back him? “They did, of course. In fact, SPB Charan was very interested in the script. He asked me to wait until he got done with two other projects. But after some time, I decided to go ahead by myself.”

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 8:57:55 AM |

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