CHENNAI: It is difficult to comprehend the feeling. Your first short film is featured at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Not only that, yours is the only Tamil short film among 31 films from India to do so in 2016. But you cannot be there to sink it all in. This is the story of Karthik Siva, a 26-year-old aspiring filmmaker whose debut work was screened at the Short Film Corner in Cannes festival last week. City Express catches up with this upcoming filmmaker whose Neri Pirazh was featured at the Cannes festival.
Don’t you regret not attending the screening at Cannes?
Yes, I do. But, I couldn’t do it for practical reasons — lack of finance. I come from a middle class family and flying to France is something that doesn’t even feature in our daily conversations. In fact, after initial apprehensions, my family is now a little appreciative of my abilities.
Anyway, I feel happy that my debut flick was featured at a prestigious film festival and it’s a matter of pride that Neri Pirazh is the only Tamil film that was selected this year.
The title seems interesting. Tell us about the movie.
Neri Pirazh is an ancient Tamil word that means ‘deviation’ from the norm. The movie is based on true events and is an experimental psycho-thriller. I do not want to reveal much about the plot as we have planned a screening for Chennai audience by June-end. It is a contemporary love story too with a message layered in it for youngsters.
Message? So, is it going to be preachy?
(Laughs) I am a huge fan of director Shankar (of Endhiran fame). So, social messages in movies are a given. In fact, when I tried to join him as an assistant director to learn film making after completing B Com, I was suggested by those around him that I do some short films to boost my profile. That’s how Neri Pirazh happened.
How has the journey been so far?
Not a bed of roses exactly. After graduating in commerce from Vivekananda College, I decided cinema is my calling. Neri Pirazh is actually my fourth attempt at making a short film and it succeeded. Thrice, I had started work and things didn’t work out due to various reasons.
So, how did Neri Pirazh happen?
Thanks to the producer of the movie, the Netherlands-based Sunil Kumar of Ever Smiling Pictures. Contrary to usual practice, Sunil approached me after we acquainted through Facebook. A passionate film buff and an actor himself, he encouraged my passion for making films. I planned my short film to be shot at zero budget initially for obvious reasons. But when Sunil came on board, we were able to rope in professionals for the film. In fact, he was the one who sent the film for selection at Cannes. I never had that thought.
What about the future plans?
Ideally, I would love to join as an assistant to any feature film director and learn more. For now, I am planning for the release in Chennai after which scripting for the next short film would begin.
Maanas Chavali (main protagonist, his debut film, a popular TV actor),
Adhithya Shivpink (grandson of yesteryear Tamil actor ‘Thengai’ Sreenivasan), Mayuri (female protagonist), Vinodhini Vaidynathan (theater actor, writer/director)
Writer & Director: Karthik Siva
Producer: Sunil Kumar & Sudheer of Ever Smiling Pictures
Cinematographers: Jagadeesh Sundaramuthy & RK Prathap
Editor: Mugan Vel
Music: Jones Rupert Niranjan
SFX: Foley Engineers