From car to silverscreen: Indu bags success after 5 failed attempts

K Unnikrishnan

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Indu VS | Photo: Mathrubhumi

After five failed film-making attempts, Indu VS has finally tasted success as she won the Best Debut Director Award at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) 2022 for her film ‘19(1)(a)’.

The movie, which features a girl who operates a photostat store and a revolutionary writer named Gauri Shankar as its primary protagonists, has heavy political undertones. Indu is also the screenwriter of the film, starring Indrajith, Srikanth Murali, Indrans, Atulya Ashadam among others. It was released on 29 July 2022 on an OTT platform.

Politics of the film

“The female protagonist of the film is nameless. I have not made any attempt to make a film on the life of Gowri Lankesh. However, I am aware of what is happening around me. This film focuses on the inner journey of a person. The women of our generation don’t hesitate to discuss politics, which often comes up when we are in conversation with our friends,” Indu said, when asked about her views on the politics behind her film.

Vijay Sethupathy and Nitya

“I've had the good fortune to land dates with actors Vijay Sethupathy, Nitya Menon, and Indrajith, as well as Anto Joseph’s production company. My friends, especially the ones from Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), have helped me a lot,” she said.

“I had the opportunity to contact Vijay Sethupathy through actor Remya Nambeeshan. When I met him at a location in Kavalam, his manager had already told me his dates were unavailable. Vijay asked me to narrate the story in ten minutes while travelling from Kaavalam to Alappuzha in a car. However, I got 2 hours with him owing to a traffic jam.

On hearing the story, Vijay and Nitya both enjoyed it. Nitya was roped into the film through costume designer Sameera Saneesh. I discussed a lot of things with actor Rima Kallingal. Athulya was also with me during the whole film-making process,” recalled the director.

Bangalore days

According to Indu, female directors in Malayalam cinema started to receive good reception after Anjali Menon's ‘Bangalore Days’ became a major blockbuster.

“I have attempted to make films even before, but none of those attempts were successful. I studied Computer Science and later did a digital film-making course at Chetana Institute in Thrissur. I began my career as Salim Ahmed's assistant director in his movie ‘Adaminte Makan Abu.’ I started working on my film after working as an assistant director for various movies like ‘Kunjananthante Kada’ and ‘Pathemaari.’

Home and Family

“Reading MT Vasudevan Nair’s screenplays from the library in my hometown was a major turning point in my life. Through it, I became aware of a script's potential,” said Indu.

Indu is the daughter of Sreedharan Namboothiri and the late Saraswathi of Saraswathi Bhavan in Olassa, Kottayam. She has two siblings.

What’s Next?

“Right now, I am focusing on films and writing. I live at Pipeline road in Ernakulam now. I have a lot of ideas in mind. I intend to make them into movies as soon as possible,” said Indu, who is keen on doing a comedy film soon.

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