A TMs, advanced banking options and transactions have become a boon to most millennials but it does not mean we ignore the dark side of technology: long queues at the ATM, getting a receipt which says ‘transaction successful’ , for an unauthorised transaction, and a buzz in the phone with a debit message are some of the worst nightmares. Adding to this the ‘customare care’ that promises the bank will credit the sum within a set number of working days, doesn’t make things better, does it? While, this might sound like a trivial issue to many, Prabhu Jeyaram, a short-film maker has portrayed the repercussions of such an incident in the life of a farmer, through his three-minute short film Yennanga Sir Unga Sattam, shot for the Moviebuff First Clap short film contest.
Prabhu, a former software engineer, left his cushy job in Singapore to take up film making. Narrating his journey he shares, “I was in the software field for five years and after a point, I was bored. I wanted to do something else and I took to short films. I always knew that I wanted to get into films and short films became my one-way ticket to it.”
After a few months of learning the nuances of short films in Singapore, he shifted to Chennai and says that he ‘went with the flow’. “Thankfully, I had no pressure from family. I like the way AR Murugadoss makes films — fast paced, laced with a message. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make such movies, but those are the kind I like to watch,”he shares.
Talking about this short film which has made it to the finals, he says the concept was inspired by a real life incident. “About two years back, my money was blocked in the ATM — about `20,000, and I was told that it’ll be returned in seven working days. What are these rules? What if it was an emergency!? That’s when I started pondering over the concept.”
Talking about this personal experience, he points to customer care and bank policies only catering to companies and not to an individual customer. “All of us would have faced such a situation and I wanted to show that there could be major repercussions….in my film, the poor farmer dies due to mental trauma. I think the grievance redressal should be made more customer-friendly and not cumbersome,” he opines.
His aim is to make it big in the feature film circuit, and adds that a project is in the making. “Well, it’s a dream project and I don’t want to say anything before everything falls in place!” he adds.
An old woman carrying a basket walks in the narrow lanes of a slum. Looking visibly tired and worn out, she enters her thatched house and opens an old trunk, to store her daily wage (`200) in a mini plastic container. As she completes her task, a voice invites her out — a folded hand asking for votes, an ‘aarti’ plate and a man handing over money — an example of the ‘cash for votes’ concept that goes on almost everywhere. This is what the first two minutes of the short film Think & Ink shows its audience.
Director Nattu Dev pans the camera and shows the face of the elated woman, played by Kasturi. Little does she know what will happen next — the previously stored money is missing and Kasturi is left with the new `200 and a strikingly ‘bitter’ emotion. “It’s the hard hitting reality of politics,” opines the director whose short film has made it to the finals of Moviebuffs First Clap contest.
Nattu has been in the industry for seven years and has the credit of working as an assistant in the award winning film, Kaaka Muttai (2015). “I was taught how to handle a craft and get good films,” he recalls his stint with director Manikandan. He dropped out of college mid-way through his engineering degree course in computer science. He tried acting before discovering his love for making films.
Recalling the incident that made him shoot the short film he explains, “One day, my friend and I were talking and he said something on the lines of ‘our money being given to us’. That dialogue prevails in the State for long and everyone in society has opined on this — some through social media, some through memes. Since I am a filmmaker, I wanted to do it through my medium. It’s an outcome of that.”
Working on a comedy-drama script, Nattu says that his goal is to make appealing films that promotes hope among youth. “It can be any plot or genre, but my motto is to promote hope. That’s what I will be prioritising in all my films,” he adds.