Karthik on a roll

SETTING A BENCHMARK: Film director Karthik Subburaj. Photo: R. Ashok

SETTING A BENCHMARK: Film director Karthik Subburaj. Photo: R. Ashok  


With a string of movies that have won critical acclaim, Karthik Subburaj has ignited a new wave of filmmaking, writes T. SARAVANAN

When Pizza stormed the box office, film purists sensed the arrival of a sensible director in Karthik Subburaj and he did not belie their expectations by releasing his second movie Jigarthanda, which proved that this young filmmaker is not just a one-film wonder. Though his third venture Iraivi did not fetch the expected results, Karthik is quite happy with his work.

Software engineer-turned filmmaker Karthik’s love for films began during his college days when he used to make short films with his friends. His rendezvous with films began after he decided to quit a lucrative job in Bangalore. “I used to make short films during weekends when I was working in a software company in Bangalore. I learnt the basics in a day’s workshop called Film Camp Sanjay Nambiar. But the short film which took me to fame was Kaatchipizhai which I made in Madurai. It got selected for the Naalaya Iyakkunar reality show. Thuru was also popular as actor Vijay Sethupathy acted in it and my Black and White won critical acclaim in international short film festivals,” says Karthik.

In many ways he learnt the nuances of filmmaking from the reality show. “I was just an amateur at that time. I did not know about proper production values. But after the show I learnt a lot about sound design, handling a big crew and budget,” he says.

Though Pizza is a big hit, Jigarthanda stands out for its content and handling but Karthik feels Iraivi is a well made film compared to his other two movies. “I got the inspiration for Jigarthanda when I was making a shortfilm Ravanam in Madurai. I wanted to picturise a murder sequence and I wanted it to be realistic. In this connection, I met a person who had come out of prison after serving jail term in a murder case. He told me he had many stories and was also interested in acting. I was more interested in listening to his story,” he says.

Karthik does not find any big difference between a short film and a feature film other than the duration. “Story decides its time. In what time a story can be told decides whether it is a short film or a feature film. Some stories deserve detailed narration and they can be made it into a feature film,” he says.

Throughout his filmmaking career Karthik has been constantly thinking about setting up a distribution platform for short filmmakers. Stone Bench is an outcome of it. “If short film as a format has to sustain, it needs revenue. I have made 14 short films without any big return. Most of the short films now are made only for the festivals and what big returns can you expect from them,” he asks.

Under Stone Bench Creations, Karthik has floated three ventures - Bench Flix, Bench Cast and Bench Subs. Bench Flix will assist those making short films and documentaries, helping them to find a distribution channel and generate a revenue model. Bench Cast will work with creators and actors in tandem and help them make the process of casting more professional. Bench Subs will take care of subtitling to help the film reach newer markets.

“It is the result of our attempt to integrate technology and filmmaking. Our company will use these new platforms to simplify things. The revenue generated may not be as big as feature films but the returns on the investment will create enough interest in short filmmaking,” he says.

Bench Flix will market films through online channels like YouTube and in-flight entertainment. It also helps in releasing short films in theatres. “Last year, we released Bench Talkies in theatres in Bangalore and Chennai and the good response has created a positive effect in us and that propelled us to release Aviyal, an anthology of four short films across 70 theatres in the State,” says Karthik.

Sometimes filmmakers are left with limited choices when it comes to casting. “In most cases characters are modified to suit the actor but ideally it should be the other away round. Under this circumstance, Bench Cast will match characters to actors,” says Karthik, who is busy writing script for his untitled project featuring Dhanush. “We have planned to go for shoot in November,” he says.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 8:57:01 AM |

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