Athisayangalude Venal: A summer chronicle
Prasanth Vijay talks about his debut film Athisayangalude Venal that will be screened in the Malayalam Cinema Today section of 22nd IFFK
Athisayangalude Venal opens with a young boy's attempt to turn invisible going awry. The nine-year-old is so obsessed with the idea that he is lost in the world of bright-blue potions and electric conductors. When his fantasies hit an alarming point and go out of hand, the family decides to play along. And Prasanth Vijay's debut film shows how a routine, drab school vacation becomes a 'summer of miracles' for its little hero. “The storyline came from my co-writer Anish Pallyal who is a practicing psychiatrist. The film explores this common boyhood fantasy of turning invisible at will,” he says.
The film is not just about Anu's foolhardy adventures, it also records incidents that drive him to this strange obsession. “For a child, invisibility is the biggest skill he can ever dream of. It makes him superior in a world controlled by adults, something that helps him to intrude in everything private. We have tried to develop an emotional angle based on this,” he says.
Chandra Kiran plays Anu, the protagonist, and the director says casting was a big challenge. “Since everything is woven around the boy, we wanted a fine actor. The film literally follows the boy and you can see that even the camera is at his height. And since we were making the film on a shoestring budget we never thought of unnecessary technical embellishments you usually see in such films.”
Prasanth says one unique trait of his film will be its subtlety as there are hardly any loud moments. “Very often we find films with child protagonists loaded with explanations. Here we have tried to limit that, and since its not a commercially-oriented film, we could have the luxury of not explaining things. But when it was screened at the Mumbai film festival it connected with the audience,” he says.
Yet, he agrees that the film was made for a niche audience, people who are exposed to the nuances of world cinema. “But that doesn't mean that the film will not speak to others. It has a storyline all parents and kids can relate to, and I think people ready to accept realistic takes on life will enjoy it,” he adds.
Athisayangalude Venal, produced by Nikhil Narendran, will be screened in the Malayalam Cinema Today section of 22nd IFFK scheduled to begin on December 8.