Kayamai Kadakka director Kiran R: People go to theatres only for big-budget films

Kayamai Kadakka, starring Vatsan M Natarajan and Masanth Natarajan, revolves around two Facebook friends who meet in real life for the first time
Kiran, Vatsan M Natarajan, Masanth Natarajan
Kiran, Vatsan M Natarajan, Masanth Natarajan

Kayamai Kadakka, an indie film that has won accolades at a few international film festivals, is coming out this week on a pay-per-view OTT platform named moviesaints.com. Directed by debutant Kiran R, Kayamai Kadakka was shot before the pandemic. "We shot it in October 2019 and completed all the work by March 2020. That's when the pandemic struck our world. If I had to look at it positively, I would say that I got a lot of time for post-production. It also motivated us to send our work to film festivals, with the title altered to Parallel Lines."

Parallel Lines, starring Vatsan M Natarajan and Masanth Natarajan, is about two Facebook friends who meet in real life for the first time. The film had its premiere at the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize and Special Jury Mention for the screenplay, editing, and sound design.

Kiran R wore multiple hats for the film. Besides being the writer, director, and producer, he has also handled the sound design, sound mix, VFX, and subtitles. "The film is made on a shoestring budget, so I knew my responsibilities and had it all planned during the scripting. We were just a crew of five, including my two assistants, DOP Sundar Ram Krishnan, his assistant, and of course, me. Unlike other indie films, which are mostly set in limited locations, I wanted mine to be shot in multiple places. We couldn’t acquire proper permission and so, had to shoot using guerilla techniques."

Kiran assisted Mani Ratnam in Kaatru Veliyidai for over a year and that experience helped him during the making of his debut feature. "Being an AD was a job where I just had to follow the instructions given to me. It's only after I came out and made a short film did I realise that I had learnt so many things subconsciously, like shot staging, production, and logistics management."

Though Kayamai Kadakka was initially planned as a theatre release, the makers decided against it, on account of the pandemic and people's reluctance to visit theatres for indie films. "Only big-budget films have managed to make a mark in theatres. Films like Kadaseela Biriyani, despite getting a good response, barely had a one-week run. Industry insiders felt that ours is a niche film, and so, even if it found theatres, it wouldn’t have enough time for word-of-mouth publicity. We hope that the OTT release will take it to more people."

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