How a short film with a nonagenarian actor became possible during lockdown


Working on ‘Can you hear me’ amidst the restrictions that COVID-19 had imposed was an immense learning experience, says first-time filmmaker Krishnakumar Balasubramanian.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented filmmakers with a fresh set of challenges — from not being able to shoot at all, to more guarded shooting after the relaxation of the lockdown. But some of the work shot during the pandemic, including the Fahadh Fazil-starrer C U Soon, have shown that good movies are still possible.

For first-time filmmaker Krishnakumar Balasubramanian (KK), several changes had to be made to the original plan, including restricting the number of people on set, to tailoring his short film’s script so that they could shoot a majority of the scenes indoors. He said making a short film amidst the restrictions that COVID-19 had imposed was an immense learning experience.

After hearing about the ‘My RODE Reel’ short film festival that attracts entries from across the world, the theatre and film actor, who is also the artistic director of The Little Theatre, decided to go ahead and make a short film — something he has been keen on for a while now.

The cast and crew members had to get tested before they began shooting.

The cast and crew members had to get tested before they began shooting.
 

KK’s short film Can you hear me features his grandmother-in-law Supriya Cheriyan, a 95-year-old actor from the city, and Nirmal Shekar, essaying the main roles. “Didu, as we call her, has always told us that being a part of a film was a dream of hers and this short film presented the perfect opportunity,” he said.

This however meant that they had to be extra cautious during the three-day filming period.

“All of us — cast and crew members — got tested before we began shooting. The number of crew members were restricted — for instance, the cinematographer planned how to shoot keeping in mind the equipment we would need to use. Many of us, including me, doubled up as assistants,” he explained.

Mrs. Cheriyan said: “I initially thought I might not be able to act but I tried my best and it all slowly came together.”

The film is available online on YouTube: https://youtu.be/fRgQkcHeLd4



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