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Message poignantly driven home



A typical family scene ... "Inii".

AT THE outset it looks like any other home — working parents, school-going children and a wily maid. But VB Filmmakers' latest short, 30-minute, children's film, "Inii" (Tamil) presents a significant angle. The message per se is not new. Yet it is poignant. Parents may love their child, but it is imperative that the child understands it, is what its maker, Bhuvana, tries to convey. And in her own succinct way she succeeds.

Sathya (Bharat) dotes on his kid brother Vijay (Ansari). And as half the time the two children are at home with only the maid for company, the bond gets stronger. The parents, Shankar (Sasi) and Latha (Devadarshini) are too busy to devote time for the kids. And even when they do, it is only to admonish Sathya for his pranks.

Vijay, who falls ill frequently, yearns for the mother's affectionate touch, but the onus is too much for her. Things get out of hand when the forlorn kids run away from home.

Luckily, for them they meet a kindly old man running an orphanage. Eventually they are reunited with their parents — but not before the elders learn their lesson.

A crisp screenplay, terse dialogue and deft direction from Bhuvana and neat portrayal by all the artistes make "Inii" worthy viewing. The same characteristics had marked her earlier short film "Ayeesha" also. But B. Sivakumar was its director. "Except `Ayeesha' all my other projects have been directed by me. Even there, I was involved in the production and post-production work throughout," says Bhuvana — writer, journalist and beautician turned filmmaker — even as she is rushing to the airport to send "Inii" in time for the Indian Panorama in Delhi. "Inii" will next be sent to the Hyderabad and Mumbai film festivals.



R. Bhuvana

Bhuvana had also written, directed and produced television serials earlier. "Be it a book, poem, serial or short film, I see to it that all my creations have a concrete message," Bhuvana claims.

Accolades at film fests are nothing new to Bhuvana. "Ayeesha" had won many awards at both the national and international levels. Again "Inii" shows much promise. Meanwhile she has also completed another short film, "Thaedal", with Archana and Vasanth. Archana was there in "Ayeesha" too ... "Archana is a long time friend. But for a change I thought Devadarshini would suit the role," she smiles. Both Devadarshini and Sasi have come out with very natural performances. "Sasi is a committed actor who is very serious about his profession," adds Bhuvana.

Nair Raman is a capable but under-utilised artiste who impresses as the old man who offers succour to the young boys. "Pasi" Sathya is another performer who shines.

The concept of the film is R. Chandrasekhar's. Alphonse Roy (his wild life films are of international renown) who has wielded the camera is another asset of "Inii", which has been shot in 35mm. "We discussed every frame in detail and Alphonse has come out with the most unusual of shots," Bhuvana compliments her cinematographer and adds, "Wherever there is talent, Suresh Urs is always there to lend a helping hand and offer encouragement, despite his being extremely busy in feature films ... " The editor has done a fine job indeed. Yet the surprise packet is Karthik Raja, whose commendable background score elevates "Inii" to higher levels. Says Bhuvana, "As an ardent fan of Ilaiyaraja and one who has been very much taken in by Karthik Raja's potential, I approached him for my next film, a full length feature this time. And when I casually mentioned "Inii", which I was making then, he offered to do the music. `It is a very small attempt. Watch the film first and if you feel it's worth it you do it,' I said. He saw it with his family and liked it so much that he insisted that he would do it." A total of 30 days work, including four days of shoot, and minimum investment have yielded gratifying results.

Yet shortfilm makers need support from private channels. They are bogged down by their own problems of making their slots lucrative, but all the same in their 24 hour telecast they can surely accommodate a decently made 30-minute film that comes with a relevant message, is Bhuvana's contention. Her feature film, Bhuvana says, is based on youth. "This time too, directing a decent, logical and at the same time commercially viable film, is my aim. And also if outside offers come my way, I am only too willing," concludes this enthusiastic, multi-faceted filmmaker.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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