Many declined the film because of its title 'Nonsense': Malayalam director MC Jithin on his debut film
MC Jithin's upcoming Malayalam film debut 'Nonsense', touted to be India's first film to explore BMX bicycle racing, stars actors Rinosh George of the 'I’m a Mallu' song fame, Vinay Forrt and more.
MC Jithin is a very busy but happy man. Having released the first look of his directorial debut 'Nonsense' last week to positive feedback, he is now involved in shooting the film.
The upcoming Malayalam film 'Nonsense', touted to be India's first film to explore BMX bicycle racing, stars actors Rinosh George of the 'I’m a Mallu' song fame, Vinay Forrt, Shruthi Ramachandran, Renji Panicker, KPAC Lalitha and others.
He talks to The New Indian Express about his struggles, dreams and his first film. Excerpts from an interview:
Nonsense. Can you tell us more?
I have approached nearly a hundred production companies with the script for ‘Nonsense’. Many declined it because it is a movie about teenagers and there was no scope to bring in big stars. But many more declined the film because of its title ‘Nonsense’. They wanted me to change the title as nobody wanted a word with negative connotations as their film's title. There is a reason why this film is titled Nonsense, on why the title is deeply connected to the script.... I did not change the name, instead I waited for the right producer and here we are now.
You call ‘Nonsense’ as India’s first BMX film.
We can see a scattered bunch of BMX riders in Mumbai, Chandigarh, Varanasi, Shillong and a few other states in the North East. There is a spike in BMX bicycle sales in Kerala too with a lot more people today interested in bicycle racing and stunt riding..
This is the first film in India to feature a BMX in an important role. The film features an unexplored area in cycling and stunt riding We had gone to Mumbai to research on BMX athletes and one of the many things they told us was that riders couldn’t race on the streets as the police would burst their cycle tyres. There hasn't been much support for BMX cycle racing from the government as well. BMX racing is an underrated sporting event and our film hopes to change that perception.
How did Johny Sagariga come on board to produce ‘Nonsense’?
I directed Rinosh George's first music video ‘Believe’. It was an attempt to build fame and credibility for Rinosh. Though it did not succeed as intended, Rinosh’s next music videos did make him a known figure. Johnny Sagariga is an admirer of Rinosh’s music and was immediately ready to produce the film.
We were all both surprised and happy. I believe in karma.
How did you zero in on the cast?
I’ve known Rinosh George for years. When ‘Nonsense’ was still an idea in my mind, I had decided upon him as my lead actor then itself. Later, I jumped to different actors, but finally came back to Rinosh.
Many in the cast are debutantes. Actors Vinay Forrt, Shruthi Ramachandran, Renji Panicker and KPAC Lalitha play interesting roles.
How did your association with director Rosshan Andrrews begin?
I was a movie buff from the time I could remember, but the way I viewed films was very different. Rosshan Andrrews' award-winning teenage film ‘Notebook’ marked a transition for me - it changed my whole perception about films and how I watched them. I then began following Rosshan sir and wanted to assist him, but for some reason that did not happen. He is someone who has inspired me a lot. While I am happy to be able to release my film ‘Nonsense’, I am happier to get it announced by Rosshan Andrrews.
Tell us about your nine-year journey, one you've described as being filled with hardships.
I have nothing more to add to the clichéd struggle stories that every filmmaker or anyone with a dream has. I was privileged enough to be able to follow my passion and I am very thankful to everyone who has wished me luck and hoped that I would achieve what I aspire for.
Studying in St. Joseph College of Communication, Changanassery, working with director Abrid Shine in ‘1983’ and ‘Action Hero Biju’ as an AD during my PG years in Chennai, working on director-writer-editor Mahesh Narayanan’s scripts, my own short films, my association with the co-writers of ‘Nonsense’ Muhammad Shafeeque and Libin TB — all of these helped shape my views and gave me the confidence to work on my own film.
My association with a lot of people in the industry began when my short film ‘Mallus’ gained some recognition. Sanjay (of the Bobby-Sanjay screenwriter duo), Abrid Shine and Mahesh Narayanan are the three most important people in my professional career.
The short films to feature films journey is a known story now. Tell us more about yours.
My first professional short film was ‘Mallus’, which came way back in 2011, followed by ‘The Loud Truth’ and ‘Water’, both in 2012, and ‘A Friday’ in 2014. Short films are assets you will always cherish.
Directors in their 20s are changing the face of Malayalam cinema with their fresh, often experimental and unconventional themes. Does ‘Nonsense’ belong to that category? How does it feel being one of those directors, directing a film with a team of both youngsters and senior actors like KPAC?
Most of the time, I feel that ‘experimental’ and ‘unconventional’ are just words to describe a film that a producer is afraid to invest in. Our film talks about a socio-political issue, which you can see happening everywhere. So, it isn't by any means experimental or unconventional but since the film does not fit into a particular framework, I will not be surprised if our film is labeled as such.
While I am indeed honoured to have senior artistes in my film, I do not intend to be carried away. I have to see them as actors like any other.
Take Seven: Extras
1 When were you bitten by the filmmaking bug?
2006, when Notebook released.
2 Any advice to upcoming filmmakers?
To be unafraid and not compromise on what they want. Doors will open.
3 Is it easier to get into the Malayalam industry now with so many young debutante directors being welcomed and who have gone on to make it big like Basil Joseph, Vinay Govind, Shanil Muhammed and more...?
I wouldn't say it is easier, but it is definitely worth a try.
4 Who are you inspirations in the field?
Alfred Hitchcock, KG George, Denis Villeneuve, Rosshan Andrrews and Ashgar Farhadhi.
5 What is your filmmaking style?
6 Can you name the films that have made you think: I should direct a film like this!?
Almost every one of KG George’s films.
7 What are some of the new Malayalam films that have interested you as a filmmaker?
I loved Angamali Diaries, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum and Maheshinte Prathikaram.