Imagine making a feature film with a measly budget of Rs seven lakh these days. Many find it hard to believe, but young director PP Sudevan has proved it possible
Sudevan’s low-budget Malayalam movie Crime No 89 also garnered a handful of awards including the Best Film in the recently announced Kerala State Film Awards.
The 39-year-old director, without any formal training in film making, collected the money for his pet project from cinema buffs and well-wishers around the world. Crime No 89 revolves around two men transporting weapons in a jeep and a mechanic who is engaged by them to repair the vehicle. Sudevan shot the movie in seven days. He limited the expenses by means as hiring cameras on lower rent and arranging food for the film unit from friends’ houses.
The actors also did not demand any remuneration as they were all his friends and acquaintances. The post-production work of the film, however, took a year as they had to be linked to getting funds. “We were not in a hurry to complete the movie anyhow compromising its standard. So we waited to get adequate funds. I would like to call the movie as a joint initiative of a group of friends. And I dedicate all the honours that come to the movie to my friends and villagers,” said Sudevan.
Hailing from Peringode village in Palakkad district, his entry into the tinsel town was not smooth. An ardent movie buff since childhood, he never missed a single film released in nearby movie houses. Before trying his luck in filmmaking, he did a handful of jobs, including carpentry, masonry and banner writing. Sudevan said watching classic movies and hours of discussions with friends at the village library gave wings to his cinema dreams. “One of such discussions gave me the confidence to make my first movie Varoo, a short film, in 2004. It was shot with a handicam, hired from one of my friends. The total expense was around Rs 5,000,” he said.
By screening the film in local film clubs and societies, he tried to reach to maximum number of audience now. The positive response of film lovers and their generous contributions helped him bring out Planning and Randu, two other short films in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Thattumpurathappan, a social satire which was a hit in local movie festivals, scripted Sudevan’s name in the minds of serious film viewers in the state.
Sudevan said he did not expect to get theatres for its release.”I have not been approached by any distributor so far. So I have done as in the case of my earlier movies, bringing the film to the maximum number of viewers through film societies and DVD prints,” he said.