Inspired by the works of Rima Das (Village Rockstars and Bulbul Can Sing), a group of young filmmakers from Kerala have made a feature film with a bootstrap budget. The film titled A Thing Of Magic was shot by a young crew led by Nithin Anil, who has directed, co-written and co-produced the movie.
“We never made a feature film before,” Nithin told Indianexpress.com. “When Rima Das’ Village Rockstar came out, it showed us that it was possible to make a film with a skeletal budget.”
The idea for a feature film struck Nithin while he was touring Hampi. And he wanted to shoot the film in Kannada. “The initial spark of the idea came from the village I was staying. The children there were talking about a film they had seen. Then, it hit me, where will these children go to watch a film. Because there was no theatre near the village,” he recalled.
Nithin was later informed that villages in Maharashtra would provide him with a conducive backdrop to shoot his film. And he along with his co-producer (Anju Prasad) took the next train to Maharashtra to find the right village for their film. “We visited a few villages around Maharashtra. And we found Arale,” he said.
The remote Maharashtra village was very welcoming to the young filmmakers from Kerala. “When we saw the village we realised that it was a fitting backdrop to tell our story,” he said. The topography and the dry season at the time in the village created the right backdrop for the shoot. “We wanted an orangish tone,” he added. “The village actually has the problem of water shortage. And we also had a particular sequence in our movie.”
Nithin enlisted the help of Aninditha Pradeep for a very crucial job: communications. Born into a Malayali household, she is the resident of Satara, in Maharashtra. Living in Maharashtra and having had early schooling in Kerala made her fluent in Malayalam and Marathi, which played a very vital role in successfully completing this project in a short time. “Aninditha did a beautiful job,” said Nithin.
The Kerala filmmakers recruited the villagers to play all the roles in the film that revolves around two school-going girls who get their hands on 3D glasses made of flimsy cardboard paper.
The crew shot in the village for 22 days. By the time they left the place, the crew and villagers were able to understand each other without the help of a translator.
A Thing Of Magic has now been selected for screening at the upcoming 21st edition of MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. It is one of the 13 films that has been selected under India Story category.
The young team of Independent filmmakers from Kerala are hoping that the Mumbai film festival would enhance the visibility of their work and help them find distributors who would take their humble film to theatres.