THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: All her life, movies enchanted her. Movies occupied her thoughts even while pursuing her studies and finally, she decided to quit her job last year and plunge into her passion.
Now in a positive endorsement to her risky move, filmmaker Jeeva K J won the best debut director award at the prestigious Noida International Film Festival for her feature film ‘Richter Scale 7.6’.
A heavily-pregnant Jeeva is thrilled her movie is being recognised in an unfamiliar land. For someone who has no background in filmmaking except an undying passion to craft movies, the achievement is a giant leap. It all started in July when a 50-member crew toiled day and night for 10 days in a mining area to stitch together a movie which would be appreciated for its craft and theme.
‘Richter Scale 7.6’ speaks about the universal theme of displacement. The story revolves around the lives of a father and son, and narrates the agonies and struggles the duo go through when they decide not to relocate when faced with displacement.
The lead characters were portrayed by Ashok Kumar and Murukan Martin. The plot of the 72-minute movie unravels in the confines of the duo’s home, a hut the crew set up in the area. A large part of the movie has been shot inside the hut and it through the emotional struggles faced by the father-son pair owing to their decision to stay back while all other families have relocated.
The story has a personal connection as well. “Whenever people get relocated, it is not just about being given a place in return. My husband’s family had to relocate from Pallippuram in Alappuzha when the region was taken up for industrialisation. Relocation changes everything and no one understands the agonies that the displaced undergo,” she says. “It happened a few years before I got married into the family but the pain lingered.”
It was when Jeeva and her husband were planning to do a movie on this theme that she happened to listen to a story by Reji Kumar K and Rajesh K. “It was a brilliant and powerful story and we decided to it,” she says. But the movie was fraught with challenges. Two days before the shoot was set to begin that Jeeva learned she was pregnant. “I was advised bed rest by the doctor, but decided to go ahead,” adds Jeeva, who camped near the location.
Working day and night ensured the movie was wrapped up in 10 days. “There was even a point during post-production when our funds were exhausted and we thought the movie might not see the light of day. And that is when Campus Oaks stepped in,” she says. The movie is the work of the First Nations Combines, a collective of film enthusiasts who met online and came together during the making of Jeeva’s first short film ‘Njaval Pazhangal’.
Jeeva who dreams about treading into mainstream film industry has a few movie concepts up her sleeve. “I believe movie making is akin to the job of the almighty, creating something from empty space. I want to make movies that are close to reality, and portrays life and dialogues as in real life,” she says.
Produced by Sajith Kumar C D, Shaji G S, the First Nations Combines, and Campus Oaks, the alumni association of NSS College of Engineering, ‘Richter Scale 7.6’ was scripted by Reji Kumar K. Sujithlal wielded the camera while the background score was done by Jeeva’s husband Nishanth P V.
Jeeva won the best debut director award at the Noida International Film Festival