Giving wings to innovation

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | VIDYA NAIR
Published Sep 2, 2017, 12:00 am IST
Updated Sep 2, 2017, 12:28 am IST
Films like Pullu and Madam prove that crowdfunding is emerging as an alternative way to finance films in Mollywood.
Shajoon Kariyal with First Clap members.
 Shajoon Kariyal with First Clap members.

On one hand when movies are only confined to being the best means of entertainment for the public, there is also a section of people who consider cinema as the quintessential aim of their life. There are people who keep aside all other priorities in their life to act, write a script, direct a movie, wield the camera and even try to become a part of various movie crews so that they can eventually end up achieving their dreams in the film industry. Despite all efforts, not everyone’s wishes are granted. However, the trend is changing and with the announcement of movies like Pullu and Madam, Malayalam cinema has taken a giant leap in setting an example by establishing that making a movie is not always about big budgets, big names and commercial treatment. Though crowdfunding is a familiar subject for various social issues, raising funds from the public to make a movie is a rare event.

Pullu is probably the first feature film in Malayalam, which will not have a producer who is responsible to spend every penny for a film. The money required to make the movie is being raised through crowdfunding. The movie, though is not an out-and-out commercial flick, for obvious reasons, is a noble initiative to help those genuinely interested to make cinema. The movie has been conceived by a team of movie aficionados. First Clap is a venture started by ace director Shajoon Kariyal to help those passionate towards movies to understand cinema and make feature films. The team working for Pullu includes all 400 members of First Clap who will be taking care of every aspect of the movie along with its production cost. Those interested can also lend a helping hand and can lend the team any amount starting from Rs 500, which will be used to fulfill the monetary needs required to make the movie.

 

The crew of the film Pullu in  a cheerful mood.The crew of the film Pullu in a cheerful mood.

Sharing more about the thought behind Pullu, Shajoon says, “First Clap is a team that was formed out of my vision to help those genuinely inclined towards cinema. I meet a lot of people on daily basis who want to make their name in the cinema industry and most of the time I had to tell them no because there might not be an opportunity fit for them. First Clap, on the other hand, provides a canvas to all these people to learn cinema. We have been making short films that are well-planned technically since First Clap’s inception. We have also trained many writers and helped them enhance their skills, which has in turn led to the announcement of Pullu.” He added that the movie set in northern Kerala will have Theyyam as an important aspect of the story.  Producer Parthan Mohan known for the movie Olapeepi, was not sure of how to turn one of his scripts into a finished product, until he talked about this to one of his friends. Parthan, inspired by an incident, wrote a screenplay and while searching for a location to shoot, was informed by the owners of the location that they would not charge him anything, instead he was supposed to dine from the restaurant.

“Our team ate biriyani from the restaurant and to my surprise both the restaurant people as well as my team were happy with just a biriyani. They informed me that they did not want any other remuneration. Madam, thus, was taken to another level. Many of the experts from the industry like Rahul Raj agreed to work for it without any remuneration and only a biriyani, therefore I named it as a biriyani film.” Madam will be released by September. Parthan is of the opinion that the success of such ventures show that commercialisation is not the only aspect behind the existence of cinema and that there are people who care for talent and acknowledge it. His first venture Olapipi also, as he puts, was a team effort and apart from the technicians who work in movies for daily wages, the main people behind the movie did not have any remuneration for making the movie. Also, actor Biju Menon, he says was very approachable and a sport when it came to working in the movie for an amount that was very less compared to what he normally charges. When asked about the commercial success rate of such films, both Shajoon as well as Parthan are of the opinion that these movies are the means to showcase talent. They feel a commercial treatment to a movie can never be given by crowdfunding or a big crew working for a commercial movie will never be happy if you buy them biriyani!

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