It all begins with an idea; doesn’t it? Ask Balaji Mohan, director of Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi. Not many would have imagined that the simple sounding idea would one day become a feature film. And, that ‘one day’ did not take years in arriving. It was a fairly quick transmission from the small time environments of Youtube and the slightly larger platform of Naalaya Iyakkunar to the biggest stage of them all, cinema. Commercial cinema can be a tough breeding ground. We have seen incredibly talented people having to wait years for their turn, great stories having to run from pillar to post to get a producer. A good example is Mounaguru; Shanthakumar had to walk around for 3 years before he found a taker for his script. Yes, talent is nothing without opportunity. And, therefore, it is not the talent that we will be talking about this time; but the men who spot the talent and give them the right opportunity.
Identifying and tapping potential is a skill or an instinct that is sometimes underrated. That is why, in the midst of all the Kudos to Balaji Mohan, we must also not forget to give a round of applause to Siddharth and Nirav Shah; not for the acting and camera work; but for identifying the potential of Balaji Mohan and Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi. Appreciating a short film is one thing, but it takes far greater confidence and courage to invest in the same story for a feature film. Apparently, both Siddharth and Nirav Shah spotted the tree that lay within the seed. The unconventional nature of the venture, the out of the ordinary courage they showed in putting their money on a greenhorn and a new kind of story has to be commended. Also, the co-producer of KSY, Y Not films too deserves a mention here because they have consistently shown an eye for films that question conventions; their previous production venture was Va-Quarter Cutting; do we need to say more.
Why should we give a special round of applause to the producers? Don’t producers identify good stories and fund them all the time? Yes, but things happened differently for KSY. Siddharth was never a producer until he came across KSY; he decided to produce just because he loved the story so much and Nirav Shah shared his vision. Now, that is what we call special. Also there is a certain notion that themes that work on one format do not generally transform well into another. Like telefilm themes can never be good movies; good TV themes can never make good movies; and also that good short films cannot sustain that same interest over a 3 hour period. Such notions have been cemented strongly because of the failure of a few attempts; like how the very successful TV series Kana Kaanum Kaalangal couldn’t deliver when developed into a movie format as Pattalam.
A lot of the time; it is that belief by someone who counts that makes the difference between a success story and a never been story. Siddharth and Nirav Shah showed that belief and so what would have ended up as a short film is now on its way to being a trend setting feature film; and it’s going to Bollywood too. Similar instances in the recent past, of producers identifying potential in unlikely places includes Dhayanidhi Azhagiri, who supported Thamizh Padam which would have sounded like a crazy idea to many seasoned minds. Then there was Arya who put his money on Boss, trusting the potential of the script.
To truly understand the importance of potential being identified by a person with the ability to propel it ahead; we must take a look at Paranormal Activity. Today, it is a global phenomenon; almost everyone has seen or at least heard about it. But, its beginnings were as a humble independent production by a man who was afraid of ghosts; shot entirely within the confines of his house. It was something perhaps destined to be a Youtube trend for a day, and nothing more. But, it was spotted by Paramount Pictures that put it on a global platform. Now, look where it is.
The world is moved ahead by ideas. Yes, but its not ideas alone, it is the identification of the potential behind those ideas by people who matter that is the second and perhaps the step that decides the ultimate fate of the idea. KSY is a very good example of an idea that was identified and given the space to flourish. Let there be more such instances. And, this is also a vindication for a stage like Naalaya Iyakkunar. There were thoughts that a short film competition is never the right way to identify directors for feature films. Now, that has been proved wrong. Let there be more like KSY.
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