THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Not many would be unaware of that feeling when one of the faces in the crowd suddenly morphs into that of an old acquaintance, who comes up and says hello. The vacuum of the years of not being in touch then gets filled up by queries - on the paths taken and destinations reached. But, a lot remains unspoken or go unregistered before the parting handshake is made. It is these recesses, between familiarity and strangeness manufactured by time that the short film Ezhandu Dooram: Seven Years Away, directed by Shaji T U, takes us into. “Time has its own strange ways. It might not move at the same pace for everyone. It need not take people, who were very similar, to the same shores. The film is about this nature of time and life,” says the debutant director.
Ezhandu Dooram, a noirish drama complete with monochromatic frames, long shadows and shady characters, is inspired from a short story written by American writer O. Henry. “I was on the lookout for a short story with a powerful theme and a friend suggested Henry’s story. It has just two characters and fitted our bill perfectly. We couldn’t afford too many actors or locations,” says Shaji. Set in present-day Thrissur, the action mainly happens inside a dim-lit bar, where two college mates meet after a span of seven years. The movie stands out for its brisk editing and attention to detail. “I never wanted to have a Plan B when I set out to do the movie. I scripted everything down to the last detail,” the director adds.
Shaji, a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, had earlier written the script for the short ‘Wilson Pereira’, which was narrated by Mohanlal. He had also worked as an assistant director for the movie ‘Pakida’.
‘Ezhandu Dooram’ is edited by Manoj, the editor of many Malayalam blockbusters including ‘Amen’ and ‘1983’. The film has not yet been released on any social media platform and was only been screened twice - a premiere show in Thrissur and the last edition of SiGNS Film Festival.