Exclusive interview with Doha based winner of National Film Award
You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support – Sabrina Bryan
When Christy Siluvappan, who works as a media manager in Doha, flew down to New Delhi in May 2015, it was a flight he would remember for the rest of his life. He had chased his dream, embraced his passion and now success was at his doorsteps.
Christy was on his way to attend the 62nd National Film Awards Ceremony – the highest awards in the field of Indian entertainment – as producer of Best Tamil Film – Kuttram Kadithal.
Apart from the National Award, Christy’s maiden production Kuttram Kadithal was selected for Indian Panorama status in Indian International Film Festival – Goa, was adjudged the Best Film in Chennai International Film Festival, and was the official selection for various international film festivals.
NRICafe is pleased to have an exclusive interview with Christy Siluvappan to discuss how his passion has developed up to this point and what his expectations are for the future.
Hello Christy! Congratulations on the National Award and other recognitions for Kuttram Kadithal. Can you give us a brief insight into your background?
I was born and bought up from Chennai where I was always fascinated about movies. My base was from preforming theatre, and I used to preform stage dramas and street plays in contemporary and various forms.
I started connecting with my passion of filmmaking as an editor & sound engineer and gradually moved with the tide at the phase of Analogue to Digital convergence.
Since I had an intensive technical exposure to both Analogue and Digital world I was easily absorbed into the world of Broadcast and Television and this led me into building media workflows and solutions for launching media networks and television broadcast networks locally and internationally.
While the tide took me towards technology, I also had my hands-on in all walks of production and post-production working in documentaries, short films and feature productions.
You started as a video editor and photographer and have done everything from being a cameraman to a colorist. How did the idea of producing a film strike you?
With director Bramma.G at National Awards Ceremony
Owning a project was always in my mind, steering a project with full independency will only be possible when it is your own production, thus the motivation to start Kuttram Kadithal.
I was very particular to rope in Bramma.G, my childhood friend who was also working as a Communication Strategist in UNICEF for Rural Development in Tamil Nadu.
Myself and Bramma used to do theatre together where I learnt theatre skills from him, Bramma is also a brilliant play writer/director and I was confident that he can deliver a good and sensible movie for the masses and we did Kuttram Kadithal as our debut feature film.
Producing a movie is always considered a risky business for starters. We have heard stories of NRIs who lost the savings of their lives in movie production. Weren’t you afraid of failure? How did your family react to this?
Starting any business is thought to be risky, unless you are very familiar with the tricks of that trade. Film making was not new to me but investing into this business did require some basic homework.
Some who have lost in this trade were always carried away by its fame and glamour with no clear understanding of its operations nor having any passion for cinema.
It was not the same for me, with years of filmmaking experience and constantly networking to gain knowledge from industry stalwarts it has been a wonderful learning for me to make this successful production.
I have always prepared myself for failures and keep my successes as surprise gift but overall it’s the priceless experience that counts.
My wife has been very supportive in my ventures as she is a professional singer, her song “Kannurangu…Kannurangu…” is a classic lullaby in this movie.
You have been in Qatar for 9 years and we all know there are lots of Indians here with passion towards cinema. Have you thought about a Cinema Club or shooting a movie in Doha?
Photo : Anand Holla – Gulf Times
Cinema plays an important role our culture and introducing good cinema to our kids is very important in their learning process about our culture back home.
Interestingly, myself and few of my friends here were discussing the scope of initiating this ‘Qatar Indian Cinema Club’ idea for movie buffs here. I can see this idea growing into a successful initiative soon.
I am also planning on few local initiatives to nurture and cultivate this cinema passion here among NRI youth and kids.
My film Kuttram Kadithal releases globally on the 19th of this month after which Chris Pictures will soon announce its next venture that is brewing now. We also have plans to cast local talents here while shooting few scenes in Qatar.
A still from Kuttram Kadithal
In Kuttram Kadithal, you have selected relatively newcomers in lead roles. Didn’t you consider established actors, as they would have brought more commercial mileage?
Our audiences are always very mature and sensible. 2014 was a very bad year for top star studded movies as most of them didn’t do well.
It is the content our audience look for that will entertain and hold them into the movie experience.
Chris Pictures believes in content strongly and will continue identifying good scripts to produce with low budget but with high returns.
It is true that business of a film is easy with established actors but success only depends on content and its making,
We didn’t see this as a big risk for the project overall the story demanded trained new faces an requirement in the script, also it was easy for the director to mold them into their characters and it was lightweight for us on the budget too.
The movie has travelled to seven international film festivals in the country including Indian Panorama and winning India’s top award, the National Film awards for Best Tamil Film 2014. Now this recognition has gained a huge commercial mileage for the film and the expectation created for its commercial release is taking the film to heights.
What’s your advice to aspirant NRIs who want to contribute towards Cinema?
Advice is a big word, my suggestion is, keep the passion burning and take one step a day at least in the direction to that target.
Associate with the right people in industry, connect with them and learn from them, be prepared to take risks safely.
Like I mentioned, there are few initiatives that I am planning for the movie aspirants here in Qatar and Middle East hopefully this will provide some support and lead.
So what’s coming up next? Since you have a life-long passion for cinema, any plans for direction or acting?
Chris Pictures next production is in process, Director Bramma is working on the script, and after the release of Kuttram Kadithal we will announce the new project officially.
Direction and acting are huge departments to concentrate, I currently don’t have much time to explore these areas but surely these are not ruled out on my plans for the future. Investment and production for the next project is the current focus in for me now.
You can connect with Christy on Facebook and Twitter.
About The Movie
Kuttram Kadithal (English title: The Punishment) is a thriller feature film with a new genre of treatment in the making. The film will give you an engaging ride into the world of its characters and an amazing theatrical experience with sound designed and mixed using Dolby Atmos technology.