Note- Over a telecon with Sethumadhavan regarding my 2nd feature film, quite a few things were discussed. Presenting the same in the form of a conversation-
Why make an indie film with such a concept?
After making and releasing my first film “Silicon Jungle” in 2006, I thought the doors are open now and opportunities will come my way. It didn’t happen though, but I wrote a screenplay which was again an off-beat cross-over kind of a film with a female protagonist. I approached lot of producers, financiers and production houses. Everybody panned it saying that it will not be feasible to make such a film, thought the budget was around Rs 1 crore. And in 2008 when recession struck the industry, it became much more difficult to convince producers. I tried till end of 2009 and gave up. Then I thought, why not making an entertaining movie with the least possible budget which people would love to watch.
How did the idea come to you?
All my batch mates are software engineers, so obviously I was familiar with their mannerism and lifestyle. I used to hear lots of stories about their office life. Sometimes I was also jealous of them, cos they had money, free travel, perks, sodexo pass, etc etc. But I never thought I would make a film about them. So, once I was traveling in a train, I saw couple of very polished and savvy IT guys boarding the train in Yelhanka station. They looked very sophisticated, urbane and spoke very elegantly. They were going to Hyderabad to attend a colleague’s marriage. After a couple of minutes, all of them gathered in my cabin and suddenly out of the blue they started talking in a local Hyderabadi urdu slang. I burst into laughter seeing their complete transformation. That’s when I realize that they come from different backgrounds and from different parts of the country and try to live completely different life in a city like Bangalore. That’s when the title struck me, Software Hardware Kya Yaaron, a film on software engineers.
How did you raise the money?
It was a crazy idea and I was sure that it will not be possible to get funding from conventional producers and through conventional ways. So, what I did was, I convinced some of my batch mates, who were software engineers to invest a small amount each in the film. When I got good response from them, I made a proposal and forwarded to lot of people. It took couple of months, but in the end I found around 15 people who loved the concept and were ready to take the risk. Since it was small amount for each individual, they weren’t skeptical of losing the money either.
How did you go about in terms of managing the casting?
Casting has been the toughest part of the whole production. We needed 15 actors from completely different ethnic & cultural backgrounds, like one hyderabadi, one from telangana region, two tamilians, one northeast, one malayali, one begali, one Kannadiga, two Marathi speaking actors, one American and two Japanese actors and so on. In a city like Bangalore, where the movie industry is not that well established, getting so many actors for much lesser remuneration was a herculean task. We held auditions in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai. The auditions were not encouraging at all. First of all the name “Kya Yaaron” sounded like a C grade underground film and when we said that the pay is less, not many people turned up for auditions. We managed to get actors through reference.
Getting two Japanese actors was tough one. After searching for 2 months, going through all the Japanese Consulates and Japanese companies, we managed to get a Japanese couple from Bangalore, who could at least speak out few lines without looking at the paper. We conducted workshops and trained them for couple of days and in the end they managed it really well.
What were the difficulties faced while filming?
The biggest challenge was to make the film in Bangalore.
1. It was difficult to find a crew, cast and qualified technicians for independent films. There are hardly any indie films being made in Bangalore, that too in English, so we had to start form the scratch. I have been conducting filmmaking workshops since 2008 in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. I have been touch with some of the students who got into filmmaking full time. I chose the best among them, formed a team and trained them.
2. Now the industry union rules are not feasible for indie films. When we started looking for technicians, make up artists, caterers, lightmen etc, they had a completely insane union rules which suited only the big budget mainstream Kannada films. It is impossible to make guerilla films complying with those rules. So we made the film outside the union jurisdiction. We took people who were working/operating completely outside the union.
3. People as such weren’t cooperative. When we approached people for locations, they were very very apprehensive about giving their space for movie shoots. Each one of them had a very bad experience with the Kannada industry. Somehow people here are not that open towards filmmaking.
Pls share some technical details about the film:
We shot the film on Canon Mk 5D, with minimalistic lights. We worked on the strengths of 5D and did not try anything beyond it’s limits. Since most of the shoot was indoors, we shot with few Kino flows and couple of home made lights.
We had made our own DIY stuff like Dolly and Jimmy jib which we used in some of the shots. Since most of the equipments was ours, we didn’t have to depend on vendors.
Except for the director, this is a debut film for all the actors and most of the technicians.
15 actors, DOP, production designer, costume designer, production manager, assistant directors, editor and music composer are making their debut with this film.
Here is the trailer of the film-
Hope to keep all of you updated further on the journey of ‘Software Hardware….Kya Yaaron’
Note- Rabi Kisku is a graduate engineer from IIT-Madras but instead of working in the area of technology he decided to follow his passion & turned an indie filmmaker instead.His first film “Silicon Jungle” was one of the first few films to be shot on digital and screened through digital projection in 2006.Software Hardware….Kya Yaaron is his 2nd feature film.