An introvert's love story
Filmmaker Kiran Josey on his viral short film Anurag Engineering Works, featuring Vineeth Vasudevan and Akhila Bharagavan
When short films centred on love stories are a dime a dozen in Malayalam, filmmaker Kiran Josey's Anurag Engineering Works stands out owing to its fresh approach in telling a simple story of an introverted machinist looking to make a connection with a crush in Payyannur. That's just the core thread. But like the films of Kiran's contemporary Girish AD (Thanneer Mathan Dinangal, Super Sharanya), Anurag Engineering Works manages to impress with its naturalistic performances, character dynamics and wit. (Notably, Girish co-produced the short.)
Some of its humour originates from the contrast between characters who tend to overreact and those who don't. In one scene, a television actor's mom asks him, "Which serial did you just act in?" after he whines that she is not too interested in his future. In another scene, Anurag's co-worker asks him to stop his "introverted ways" -- a piece of advice that backfires at first but eventually works in his favour.
Vineeth Vasudevan plays the titular machinist Anurag; Akhila Bhargavan is Neethu, the woman who has caught the former's fancy. The 30-min short, which has now amassed 4 million views on YouTube, ends on a happy note while also leaving it open. "My previous short films focused on a few characters and limited interior settings. I wanted this one to be more expansive and cinematic, with interesting situations and characters belonging to different age groups," says the Kottayam native, who previously directed actor Sajin Cherukayil in the short Bineeshettan Roommate.
Kiran met Vineeth Vasudevan while working on Super Sharanya's second schedule. In the film, Vineeth essayed an integral character, Ajith Menon, that behaves like a spoof of Arjun Reddy. "Vineeth had seen Bineeshettan Roommate and texted me. Later, when I was casting for Anurag Engineering Works, I had difficulty finding a leading man while all others were already cast. So I just asked him if he was interested. I also thought this subdued character would be fresh territory for Vineeth, who usually plays over-the-top characters in his films or short films."
The film's Payyanur setting has to do with Kiran's co-writer, cinematographer, and editor, Adarsh Sadanandan, who hails from the region. "Aside from Vineeth, most cast members hail from that locality," he adds. "Some of the actors are part of street theater groups. They have no stage fear; they are easy to work with."
Kiran harbours dreams of making a feature-length debut soon but hasn't yet zeroed in on the right story. Meanwhile, he worked as an assistant director in Vineeth Vasudevan's upcoming feature directorial debut, Poovan, starring Antony Varghese.