COVID-19: “Time to Adapt to New Circumstances”, Film Director Sooraj Tom

What with the Lockdown following the outbreak of COVID-19 forcing people to stay confined inside the four walls of their houses, all activities have come to a grinding halt, the film and advertisement segments are no exception either.

Tamil online version of Malayalam Short Film, Sarbath released.

The genesis of the recently released Malayalam short film, Sarbath was due to the discussions the stakeholders had as to how to restart the film production through online.

“Time has come to ponder as to how we can adopt ourselves to the changing situations and charter a new path. In the film industry, talks are on among various stakeholders to find a solution to restart the halted activities. And that was how we came up with the idea of making this short film, Sarbath,” the director, Sooraj Tom told The Indian News.

The Tamil version of the Malayalam short film, Sarbath was released through the Facebook pages of various artists of the movie this morning at 10.00 AM. The film is available on YouTube. Read the details of the Tamil online version of Malayalam Short Film #Sarbath here.


Exclusive Interview

Badusha, the protagonist and director of the short film, Sarbath, Sooraj Tom.

In a free-wheeling chat with the Editor of The Indian News, Jayashankar Menon, the director speaks about the future of online films and more. Excerpts:

Director of the Short Film Sarbath, Sooraj Tom speaks to The Indian News.

TIN: Given the current stalemate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what is the solution you think, the film industry could adopt to give momentum?

ST: As you rightly said, the COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant Lockdown has forced all the activities to a grinding halt. And the movie and entertainment industry are no exception. We were all contemplating on how to give momentum to the sagging film industry, especially with all the theatres across the country closed. We had discussions with all stakeholders including content creators, technicians and investors. All were on the same page, when it came to the solution could only be found through OTT platform release of the films. Already, many film makers have started working towards the same end. As an artist, I too was contemplating on coming up with some out of the box thinking. Just then, Malayalam script writer, Vivek Mohan approached me with the innovative story idea for this short film, Sarbath. ”

TIN: How did you find the producer for this short film?

ST: Actually, we did think of scouting for an investor and convincing about the concept of the movie. Nevertheless, the kind of things that are happening at the contemporaneous times, we felt it is prudent for us to find finance for our project. Subsequently, Vivek himself firmed up his mind to invest in this project.

TIN: You are also into advertisement segment. How are things improving at the present juncture?

ST: We have just revamped the whole set up by complying to COVID-19 guidelines.

TIN: Can you elaborate on the making of Sarbath?

ST: As we have lot of restrictions to shoot the film outdoor, we decided to film our script strictly confining to a single room. Also, keeping with the protocols, with only 15 technicians.

TIN: There are handful of short films being made during this Lockdown period, what exception is there in Sarbath?

ST: Yes. There were quite a few short films being made during this pandemic time, nevertheless, what made Sarbath exceptional is the fact that the way we have executed the project is way different and innovative than the other films. For instance, all actions are shot from the shadows of the characters. The protagonist of the film, Badusha, who is also the production controller in the Malayalam Film Industry, comes in front of the camera only in the end. Eventually, this innovative idea of narrating the story gave the crew a wider vista. Obviously, we were able to shoot the film without any hassles.

TIN: What other advantage you could extract through this innovation?

ST: This way, we were able to create the right kind of atmosphere for the revelation of the story. With this, we were also being able to dwell deep into the possibility of the soundtrack as well.

TIN: How did the script writer come up with the idea of shooting the action from the shadows of the characters?

ST: Simple. when were narrating the story of an expatriate who stays confined to a room adhering to the mandatory quarantine. What he was left with is his own shadow. This aspect triggered the out of box thinking in the script writer and we executed the same in the film.

TIN: What other films you have made? What is your newest project?

ST: I have made movies like Paava and Ente Mezhuthiri Aksharangal. My latest venture is a Web Movie, Better Half. The shoot is progressing in Kochi and Thodupuzha.

More details of the movie can be read: