Vetri Maaran on why he decided to present ‘Baaram’

A still from ‘Baaram’

A still from ‘Baaram’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

How ‘Baaram’, a film that grabbed eyeballs after winning the National Award, was conceptualised

Even before its theatrical release, independent movie Baaram stoked a controversy when it was awarded the Best Tamil Feature at the 66th National Film Awards, snubbing its fellow nominees — Pariyerum Perumal, Vada Chennai, Merku Thodarchi Malai and Peranbu — which were perceived to be the potential winners. But if not for the National Award tag associated with Baaram, nobody would have known of its remote existence, which, sadly, is the case of any independent movie.

An alumnus of FTII (Film and Television Institute of India), the Mumbai-bred Priya Krishnaswamy’s journey isn’t any different when she decided to put together Baaram, based on the ghastly practice of thalaikoothal (senicide). “We wanted to reach more people because of the subject. The National Award win, in fact, opened doors for us and I’m grateful to the jury members,” said Priya, who was in town for the press meet of her second movie, which saw the participation of filmmakers Vetri Maaran, Ram, Mysskin, Kamalakannan, Arun Karthick and Ajayan Bala. She added, “The mark of an artiste is to recognise the struggle of another artiste. I’m deeply grateful to Vetri Maaran and all the filmmakers who have supported us.”

Baaram, in her own words, is relatively a “small movie” which she never thought of releasing to a mainstream audience, until she met Ram at International Film Festival of India (IFFI), where his Peranbu was screened under Indian Panorama section. It was Ram who convinced Priya to take a trip to Chennai, meet people and discuss the release prospects, “National Award isn’t a barometer to judge the quality of a movie, but it somehow helps to sell the product better, so thanks to the jury,” said Ram in his speech, “The most difficult aspect of filmmaking is to retain the simplicity of the craft. Priya has managed to do that with Baaram.”

Tracing roots

Ram fostered a meeting between Priya and Vetri Maaran, who is presenting Baaram through his Grass Root Film Company, along with SP Cinemas. “It was almost a guerilla warfare,” noted Vetri Maaran, about the trials and tribulations Priya and her daughter [Ardra Swaroop] endured as long as five years. “All I could afford was the brand name; the rest of it was taken care of by Priya and her team. In fact, Ram’s contribution to bringing Baaram here is much more than mine,” he said, making an interesting observation about the lack of a parallel movement in Tamil cinema.

“Our [mainstream] audience is more refined compared to other industries. This I noticed when they received Visaranai with open arms,” he remarked, adding, “The success of this movie will mark the beginning of many such projects.”

Mysskin said, “I thought it was going to be an ‘art’ film when Ram invited me for the screening. I walked in with a headache and was sceptical about it [Baaram]. But the movie gave me a tight slap.” Baaram, according to him, lifted a huge weight off his chest and made him lighter as a person. “My initial reaction after watching it was to visit my parents. It’s been years since I last saw them. The movie will bring families closer. That’s what it did to me,” he added.

Baaram is scheduled to release on February 21.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 7:47:48 AM |

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