Halitha Shameem, 27, is probably the youngest woman director in Kollywood. With her passion for cinema and years of experience as assistant director to Mysskin, Samudrakani and Gayathri-Pushkar, she is now confident to take the brave plunge into directing her own film.
With Poovarasam Peepee (PP), produced by cameraman Manoj Paramahamsa’s Baby Shoe Productions and V Talkies, Halitha has made a film with three kids in the lead. In a chat with CE, Halitha reveals more about the making of the movie.
“I’ve worked in Oram Po, Quarter Cutting, Nandalala and Nadodigal as assistant director. When I took the plunge into directing, I had several scripts in mind. However, we zeroed in on this particular script and started the shoot. Finding a producer like Manoj was a big help,” says Halitha.
The film is about three young boys who witness a violent episode that leaves an impact on their innocent minds. Instead of being effected negatively, they try finding a solution to the problem. How did she choose this subject?
“In my village, I’ve seen many kids roaming around aimlessly, doing nothing. It struck me that anything untoward can happen to them without the right parental guidance or society’s support. That’s when I thought of this subject,” she says.
The team conducted auditions in Tamil Nadu and finally, Gaurav Kalai from Madurai, Praveen Kishore from Pollachi and Vasanth, who had acted in AranyaKandam earlier, were selected. Kaali Venkat plays a negative role, while several adults make up the cast. Music is by Arul Dev. Halitha has not only directed, but has also written the lyrics of the songs, while researching heavily to get new instrumental sounds for the sound track.
“We have used many world music instruments like the P Bone, a wind instrument of plastic, hang drums and the didjeridoo, an Australian aborgine instrument. We have also used a string quartet of violin, vielo, cello and double bass. All this has led to a very different sound base for the movie,” says music director Arul Dev.
Halitha says the film does not intend to preach and is rather open-ended.
It has been shot in Pollachi, Dharmapuram and Theni over a period of eight months so as to suit the timings of the three kids, taking into account their exams and holidays.
Cameraman-turned-producer Manoj Paramahamsa, who has done the camera work for Eeeram, Nanban and Vinnaithandi Varuvaya, will be cranking the camera for this home production.
“I liked Halitha’s two short films in which I worked with her earlier. As a producer, I bought a lot of digital equipment to maximise digital technology in PP. As a cameraman, this is my first rural-based film, so it was a new experience!”
The film is scheduled for a May 30 release.