the quintessential railway cafeteria in every town and city. Over cups of coffee and timetables…
travelers cross paths, exchange glances, share stories and much more.
From here, emerge stories full of humour, surprise, sensitivity, wonder, curiosity and revelations.
Tales that illuminate the different faces of Kerala
In the non resident mind, the urban, the rural, the hills, the seaside, the bordertown…
Journeys through Kerala, like never before.
The film is in its very final stages and its been a fun ride on this one. My segment is called ‘Happy Journey’. An atypical bus trip from Kochi to Kozhikode on a weekend. Jagathy SreeKumar & Nithya Menen lead the film. Its my first Malayalam script written without a translator. My Malayalam spellings are atrocious, so this was possible with a software called Varamozhi. Bless the chaps who designed it and of course our Little Films team who introduced me to it (only so that they could escape the Malayalam drafts written with English letters…!).
Lots has happened on Kerala Cafe since my last post. The film is now complete and the World Premiere took place at the Middle Eastern International Film festival in Abu Dhabi, UAE on October 9th 2009. Unlike most films , this was one where even the directors were seeing it for the first time in its full form along with the audience. Speaking for myself – I had my heart in my mouth when the lights dimmed but with the frequent bursts of applause, we were all smiling soon!
After the screening, the night went by very quickly with the comments of an attentive audience and a flurry of phonecalls to share the premiere feedback. Finally when I switched off for the day, I thought back to the beginning of this journey in March 2009.
Its been a special time and I don’t know if anyone is documenting the experience… so I’ll post some notes on the journey of Kerala Cafe that may reveal more about how the pieces fell in place…
I have no clue how long this idea was in germination in Ranjith’s mind… but I got a call one morning in Mumbai.”We, Capitol Theatre are starting a new project… something on the lines of Paris Je’taime… a compilation of 10 short films… all based on the theme of YATRA. ”
My response -”Great… wonderful idea…”
R continues… ”The journeys can be physical, emotional, psychological – whatever you please. So are you ready to do it?”
This is when I stopped pottering around and took a moment. ”As in? You want me to make one of the films?”
You see, I had till then always had to convince everyone else that I could make these beautiful films and that they should believe in me. Suddenly here someone had enough trust in my work to hand me this opportunity. That is what meant the most to me. So the obvious next step was to say ”Yes, thank you… I’d love to be part of it!”
Then, curious me asks about who were making the rest of the 9 films… and out tumbles the list of filmmakers. That’s when I realise the scale of the project!
Kochi. First round meeting of Kerala Cafe. Assuming that we would be given a set of guidelines and framework, I walked in expected to listen more than speak. After the pleasantries, we sit down in a circle and suddenly ” Anjali will tell us her story…” Totally unprepared, I wiggle out saying that “I’d rather be the last one”. One by one the directors start to narrate their respective stories. Insightful thoughts emerge as the stories are told. For a moment I sat back and realized that this was a group of friends sharing stories than some hotshot directors constructing a project…
The personal reigns over the professional here.
In a few minutes signing amounts are handed out – but no contracts, no lawyers, no watching one’s back. With the smiles, hugs and respect shown it was more like a family “kaineetam” ceremony at Vishu! All of this was new to me and I was touched by the warmth and the trust on that day. This was going to be something special.