The shift from architecture to filmmaking is bound to be strewn with stumbling blocks. But debutant director Subu seems to have jumped over them as he readies for the release of his first movie Sutta Kadhai on September 20 after several delays.
The movie has been making waves online for its quirky teasers and slick posters, with stars radio jockey Balaji Venugopal and theatre artistes Venkatesh Harinathan and Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli in the lead. Is he nervous?
“Are you kidding me? I’ve gone past nervousness. As of now, I just want the movie released, and get it over with. Phew!” he says with huge sigh of relief.
Subramaniam or Subu as he likes to be called (“There are too many Subramaniams in this business, anyway!”), knew he always wanted to be a filmmaker, even when he was nudged to take up engineering by his parents.
“I’ve been good at visualising things, so I took up architecture — knowing I’ll end up making movies,” he says with a cheeky grin.
But he didn’t take the usual route, that is, assisting directors. Instead he became a lyricist. “Ah yes. I wrote for a band called Oxygen. And I ended up writing lyrics for Aarohanam,” he says. But he did work with Prathap Pothen on a couple of ad films. “And I ended up making a bunch of corporate films as well. But nothing prepared me for the ride, which was working on Sutta Kadhai,” the young director candidly says.
A random trip to Kodaikanal five years ago spawned a short film storyline that was fit for a handycam. “A friend and I thought we’d do this small short film, where I’d cast my parents or something. And we shot a little here and there,” he says. Ironically, the short film never got made.
But the script did evolve into a full-fledged movie script, which grew with every oral narration it received.
“I got the team I wanted together before pitching the script to producers. I didn’t want to compromise on my first film. Even if you remove one element from my movie, like the musicians or the cinematographer, the entire flavour of the movie will change,” he says passionately.
The movie is about two rookie cops trying to solve a murder in a fictional village. The team shot in Kodaikanal, which Subu says, felt like home for him, for 22 days straight. Sutta Kadhai also stars Nasser and M S Bhaskar in pivotal roles. Subu is raving about the duo. “It was so much fun working with them! We working with Nasser only for four days, but he’s there for the entirety of the movie. He even wore my shirt when we had a shortage, even though he knew it wasn’t from the costume box. He’s amazing,” Subu recounts.
Now that his debut movie is all done with, what’s next for Subu? “Definitely not another movie for quite a while. I found the experience of Suttai Kadhai quite tough as I really got to learn about the business of cinema — what to do, what not to do, why we do certain things a certain way, et al. I need a break,” he says with a smile.