Fugue is hardly 17 minutes long, but you feel the despair, loneliness, apprehensions and confusion of Ashley so strongly as if you have known her all your life. Through the loner girl’s narrative you find a stranger coming into her life and igniting in her hope along with fear whether he would accept her and her dark secrets. The emotional thriller is sure to leave you shaken; the direction, presentation, camera, editing and the performance are impeccable that in less than seven months of its making, Fugue has bagged 38 awards at various festivals – seven of those for the best film and five for the best story and screenplay.
Vivek Joseph Varughese, who wrote and directed the short film doesn’t want to claim the credit all by himself. With brutal frankness for a budding film maker, Vivek confesses that he knew nothing about direction or the technicalities of filmmaking. “It is a team work. I only knew what to do, but how to do it was taught by my crew, my friends. They are my film school.”A final-year MBBS student at the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Vivek was a film buff and had no direction dreams when he joined the medical course by securing sixth rank in the state medical entrance test.
For his transformation from a studious boy to a short film maker, he owes it all to his college. “It was the support of the teachers, batchmates and friends, who encouraged us to come up with Fugue,” he says. Fugue means a musical note without an identity. The film is produced by Thira Movie Labs, which comprises his dad K.J. Varughese, his teacher Dr Muhammed Shaffi and his friends from the 2013 MBBS batch named Thira. Arun Varghese’s music and Christy Sebastian’s editing has contributed greatly in making the audience empathise with the lead characters played by Syamaprakash and Rasmi. In no way would you guess that it is a debutante’s work. “That’s because we did a lot of improvisations. After each screening, we did a rework. What you see now is the version that underwent nearly 15 final edits,” Vivek laughs.
However, he doesn’t want to speak about the two years that have gone into the making, the umpteen struggles the crew faced, for it might appear like an attempt to market his project. Wherever screened, Fugue fetched laurels. Directors R.S. Vimal, Mahesh Narayanan and Shankar Ramakrishnan called up and appreciated them. Another happiest moment was when the lead actor, Syamaprakash, was invited to be a part of Shankar’s upcoming movie Pathinettam Padi. Now that his short film is being hailed by all, Vivek wouldn’t jump into movie direction. “Along with my medical career, I will set time to read, watch movies and learn scriptwriting. One needs to be well-experienced before venturing into movies. Fugue has taught me what all I do not know and need not do. I need to gain more confidence and knowledge before making the next move,” he concludes.