One more investigative thriller helmed by a debutant is in the final stages of production. 21 Gms, directed by Bibin Krishna, is being touted as a whodunit starring Anoop Menon, Leona Lishoy, Renji Panicker, Ranjith and Anu Mohan, among others. “It’s not so much a high-paced thriller as a mentally stimulating exercise to look for the culprit,” says Bibin, describing it as an investigation story set against the backdrop of a family drama.
Though the title recalls Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s multi-character drama, Bibin tells us it bears no resemblance to that film. Scripted by Bibin, 21 Gms started production at the beginning of this year and wrapped up by March. “This is a project that travelled through two Covid waves,” says Bibin, who wrote the script around four years back.
With no prior experience in the industry, Bibin, like many aspiring filmmakers before him, honed his skills by working on short films. “Aside from direction, I also taught myself editing and sound. I feel that only when you explore every department at least once will you be able to communicate your ideas clearly to the technicians.”
Bibin got a chance to put the project in motion when he landed in Kerala and had discussions with friends. Through production controller Noble Jacob, Bibin then got in touch with Anoop Menon, who seemed right for the part.
“He instantly got on board as the character excited him as much as the character he played in Traffic,” says Bibin, who approached the actors with a bound script with every technical aspect detailed out. “I had written everything in it, including edits, scene transitions... everything. And since both Anoopettan and Ranjithettan were filmmakers themselves, they got what I was trying to do.”
Cinematographer Jithu Damodar, editor Appu N Bhattathiri, music director Deepak Dev and art director Santhosh Raman form the film’s principal technical team. Rinish KN is producing it under the banner of The Front Row Productions.
sked if the film brings to the table a fresh narrative unseen in other films of the genre, Bibin shares that aside from applying the non-linear approach in a few places, the story also demands participation from the audience member. “It’s told from the investigator’s perspective,” he says.
To clarify, he adds that in most whodunits the climactic revelations are presented without necessarily taking the audience through all the details. “What I’m hoping to achieve here is having the audience experience the events through the lens of the main character, thereby making them his partner of sorts. Like him, we may miss out on certain details initially, but later put everything together. I hope the viewer gets from the film an experience akin to reading a mystery novel.”