Prasanth Vijay’s Athisayangalude Venal, which will be screened at the IFFK, depicts the views and thoughts of a child who is obsessed with the idea of invisibility
The boy is on top of a kitchen slab, his mother doing chores. They are having a conversation, the boy asking his mother how to stop people who have powers over you. The mother suggests praying, god could help you with anything. Why didn’t she ask god to bring back their missing father, he asks. God does what is best for you, maybe something bad would have happened if dad was here. And no matter what you do here, you can’t change god’s will, she says. The boy then jumps off the slab, asking, what then is the use of praying. Simple and straightforward logic of a nine-year-old!
That bit of talk, the kind most of us would have had as children, makes one thing clear. The writers were good at this, figuring out a child’s thoughts, giving the boy lines that come out of a child. For this is a scene off Athisayangalude Venal (The Summer of Miracles), which will be screened at the International Film Festival of Kerala next month. It is made by Prasanth Vijay, a once-upon-a-time techie, written by him with Anish Pallyal. "That was a long time ago, I left Infosys to do an MBA and then went on to work for the central government, then an online ad network and then startups in Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru. In 2012, I made the short film Amguleechaalitham, which though did not have a lot of views, won critical feedback from the likes of N.S. Madhavan. Then I thought of doing a feature film," Prasanth says.
He had always wanted to do films, and as a young boy, go to a film school. But he realised it was not practical back then when he was expected to tread the more common professional path. But Prasanth believes you don’t really need to go to a school for anything in an age where you could learn anything off the internet. What you lack will be a fraternity who could have supported you if you went to a film school. "But everything helps. I would say I have been trained for the last 25 years by several people and circumstances."
The trick in filmmaking was not only understanding what every department did, but also mastering the language they spoke, the jargons.
Prasanth learned through watching films, and figuring out he was comfortable in making the art house kind of film. "Of course, movies like Maheshinte Prathikaram were a great inspiration," he adds. When Anish gave him the draft, he added bits from his own childhood. "When I look back at childhood, I feel I was very powerless. People could drive you in different directions and you get confused."