CHENNAI: How many of us can recall the last time we penned a letter? Or recall our postman deliver one? In this era where the mouse is mightier than the pen, many consider it painstaking to write a letter. Kaalam Poghum Aana Sollu Nikkum (Time might fly, but words remain), goes a Tamil saying. Adding a twist to this axiom, B Manohar and Abinandhan Ramanujam, in The Postman, say that spoken words might be transient but the written letter remains. This 15-minute film shared the National Award in the Best Non-Feature Film category with Sourav Sarangi’s Bilal. Chennai boys Manohar and Abinandhan, graduates of LV Prasad Academy, worked on The Postman as part of their diploma project.
“Getting the script approved was a big challenge as our management was worried about difficulties we might face during the shoot. Determined as we were, we decided to go ahead. Although it was only a four-day shoot, it took us about a month scouting for the location. We finally zeroed in on the Amaravathi Nagar Post Office at Pollachi,” says Manohar.
The story is semi-autobiographical. “Once I saw a city postman deliver a telephone bill rather carelessly. The receiver was arguing with him about it. Later, I asked my village postman and he spoke about the time when people in the village would ask him to sit by them and read out letters, but with advancements in technology, nobody writes in hand. ‘I have been a postman all my life and took pride in being a message bearer, but now nobody needs me.’ I was touched by these words and it became the inspiration for my film,” says Manohar. The story revolves around a village postman and how things change for him with the changing times.
The shooting for the film was a fun experience. “Ishwar Srikumar, a trained actor from the National School of Drama, who plays the protagonist would always pep us up when we felt low. Rangamma plays a grandmother in the film. She is a cute patti but she would always demand a quarter (alcohol) and sell beedis on the sets,” they say.
With The Postman, the duo has made their mark. Whether they will continue to make good cinema remains to be seen.