Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Best Of Both Worlds

Police officer Arun Viswam, who had recently won a Kerala State Film Award for Best Children's Film, talks about his experiences

Photos: Arun Viswam. Pic by Albin Mathew; the film poster

By Shevlin Sebastian

When Arun Viswam enters the premises of the Chottanikkara police station, near Kochi, on a Bullet motorbike, it is hard to believe he is a civil police officer. Instead, he looks like a film star, with his sunshades, black T-shirt, blue jeans and black boots.

But then he could be a star in the making. Arun hit the media spotlight, when his feature film, 'Kolumittayi', recently won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Children’s Film.
The film is set in an idyllic village, where two boys, Unni and Rony meet in class, and rub each other the wrong way. The story, which involves other children, highlights their rivalries through a painting competition and it ends up with the boys becoming friends.
The movie was released on November 4 last year, but when demonitisation happened on November 8, the audience dwindled. “So we began screenings in schools, ever since, and there has been a very good response,” says Arun. “It is a film that reveals the hearts and minds of children today.”  
Owing to a tight budget, nearly all the actors worked for free. They included senior Mollywood professionals like Saiju Kurup, Krishna Prabha, Devi Ajith and Dinesh Prabhakar, apart from 30 child artistes. However, thanks to the state award, the satellite rights have been snapped up by a Malayalam television channel. So, Arun, along with producer Abhijith Asokan, have been able to recoup the costs.
Interestingly, despite his full-time job, Arun did manage some prior stints in films. He worked as an assistant director in Mollywood director Abrid Shine's hit films, ‘1983’ and ‘Acton Hero Biju’, apart from the national award-winning film, ‘Oridam’. “All these experiences gave me the confidence to venture out on my own,” he says.

Now, buoyed by the response to his first film, Arun is getting ready to write his next script. “It will be a subject based on my police experiences,” he says.

Of course, there is an advantage of working in a police station. “You are able to see life first-hand,” says Arun. “Many things that people will not reveal to their friends or neighbours, they will blurt it out at a station. So, you hear a lot of interesting stories. I will pen my script on one such experience.”
As he converses, a colleague smiles at Arun, and walks past. As Arun looks at his receding figure, he says, “Without the support of my superiors and colleagues, it would have not been possible to have a film career. I am grateful to them.” 

(Sunday Magazine, The New Indian Express, South India and Delhi)

No comments:

Post a Comment