Who cares for the perseverance and the creative efforts that go into the making of a good film? A very few, for that matter! It wasn’t long ago that a debutant filmmaker had to implore moviegoers on social media to watch his film before being snubbed by theatres. His film, which had a different treatment, deserved more attention than it actually got.
The same fate has befallen another first-timer Jayan Vannery’s recently released film “Ma Chu Ka.” According to the director, the flippant attitude and puerile judgement by theatres have spelt doom for his movie, which targets genuine cineastes and demands serious appreciation.
“I have not faced any hurdle while shooting the film. But after the post-production stage, the film faced serious challenges like late release and lack of interest by theatre owners to screen a film that features no stars,” Jayan says.
Starring Tamil actors Pashupathy and Janani Iyer, “Ma Chu Ka” has lapped up rave reviews and appreciation from filmmakers like Jayaraj and Salim Ahamed. It was among the 10 films that vied for the Best Film at the National Awards.
The story of this psychological thriller is about two strangers, who spend a day in a house at Munnar. The director reveals that some cinema houses refused to screen the film citing a bizarre question: “Who wants to see a Pasupathy film?”
Lashing out at such senseless approach to films, Jayan says: “These people don’t have any idea about how to appreciate a film. Besides, they hold age-old notions about cinema. As a result, the film was released in remote areas, where you hardly get a discerning audience.”
While major centres shunned the film or sidelined it for big budget movies, the strike at the multiplexes was the last nail in the coffin.
Jayan sees it as a grave threat to new filmmakers who enter the industry with fresh ideas. Commenting that preconception and judgement about a film by the theatres is deplorable, he says even the theatres run by the Kerala State Film Development Corporation Ltd (KSFDC) were not ready to give more shows to the film though there were no major releases.
“KSFDC has theatres in six districts. But they allotted only three shows to my film (two shows in Thiruvananthapuram and one in Thrissur). How can people watch such movies if shows are not charted in a proper manner?” queries Jayan, adding: “All of us talk of novel themes and treatment. But when a filmmaker introduces an out-of-the-box narration, people are unable to watch it due to such a kind of attitude by theatres.”
Twist in the Tale
The filming for “Ma Chu Ka” was completed in 2016. But the film was on hold for 15 months, thanks to the languid response of a Thiruvananthapuram-based distribution company, Supreme World. “They kept on postponing the release dates, despite the trailer doing the rounds. The company is run by a city-based film director, who has directed about 20 films, including those with Mammootty in the lead. We filed a case with the City Police Commissioner and as a result, we got the distribution rights back,” he explained.
Later, it was revealed that Supreme World is a fake firm. His bitter experience forces Jayan to opine that such external hurdles would stunt the growth of budding directors.
The riveting title of the film has major significance as far as the plot is concerned. “It denotes yellow, red and black (love, revenge and death). I have tried to link the colours with the climate and the demeanour of the characters. Like the daylight coalesces with the dusk and then transforms into darkness, the characters also show their volatile nature. So, these two things go parallel in the story,” he explains.
Jayan says it was purely a coincidence in naming the film “Ma Chu Ka,” which also has a Portuguese meaning: Inflict Pain. “I got the name while searching Google; though I intended only colours with the Malayalam words. But it was apt for the theme because the protagonist is undergoing intense pain. And he gushes out his pent-up emotions in the climax,” he says.
Talking of Pasupathy, he says the Kollywood actor was thrilled to do such a character after reading the script. “After each scene, he would look at me to know my reaction. If he could not see a smile in my face, he would ask for a retake. He is really an awesome actor,” the filmmaker added.
Though there were plans to rope in Nithya Menon or Parvathy Thiruvoth to essay the role of Niveditha Haran in the film, it did not work out due to their unavailability of dates. The Tamil version of the film will be released in July.
Jayan, a self-made filmmaker, will begin the next schedule of his second film “Anuragam, the Art of Theppu”, in July.
Read: Ma Chu Ka Review