March 06, 2011 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
There is always a high expectation from a movie if it is coming from an ad filmmaker turned director. If it is his debut film, it would be far more interesting, you are assured of a tightly edited story, film would be visually appealing, the content though simple would be cogently narrated without any deviations and finally without being preachy it is bound to leave you thinking much longer after you've left the cinema hall.
When Jayendra, the director released the first teaser of his upcoming film 180 starring Siddharth, Priya Anand and Nithya Menon, it raised a lot of curiosity. The poster had a man standing upside down with a caption..ee vayasu ika raadhu. "People started drawing their own inferences, some even said it was 180 degrees. It started as a working title and we decided to retain it," says a smiling Jayendra. But why did he decide to make a feature film after a full 25 years in the advertising industry?
Jayendra actually was ready with a story after his first five years in the ad sector but his track moved into changing of the technology in the film industry. A co-founder of Real Image Media Technologies they have more than 600 people working with them over technology being used in 28 countries. They introduced the Avid editing system..from cutting and sticking film to computer based editing. It revolutionized the way people worked and also introduced the six track sound, the DTS..it enhanced cinema viewing experience for common man who started appreciating sound like never before.
In midst of all this he shot a carnatic concert film digitally and presented it in the theatres that brought terrific response from people in India and abroad. After enjoying such a fair share of success in the advertising field Jayendra began working on a script that took over two years to be ready. It was a tight bound script and they went to production with every detail minutely and extensively planned.
"We wanted to shoot for 105 days. We shot only a day extra," he adds. It was shot in Malaysia, Chennai and Hyderabad, USA. Certain sequences were shot in Chennai for the Tamil version and Malaysia to match the viewers. The director claims that he hasn't seen any of the films of the heroines, he saw his characters in them and just picked them for his film. In Siddarth's case, his close associates and those who read the script arrived at a unanimous choice. It was originally conceived as a Telugu film, but being born and brought up in Chennai they wanted to make it into bilingual.
180 has all the ingredients of a successful commercial film - it stands a very good chance of resonating with all kinds of audiences. The director when he set out to write this story, he was very sure of not have violence as a focal point, violence without a thought in movies, mindless showing killings would make people numb he avered and opted for something sensitive, something meaningful that would make us re evaluate our lives in the world around us. The content would not be heavy or serious but there would be thoughts that has stemmed from the director's values, beliefs and experiences.
He adds, “You will realize it when you leave the theatres not when you are seeing the film because you will be completely taken over by the content while watching." Experience is the biggest boon of a filmmaker. One has to see life to make films that are relevant. Jayendra had put in his ability to observe and absorb everything in life to put it in perspective. He shot twice..in Tamil and in Telugu because he thought it would be a compromise if he made the artistes speak in one language and dubbed it into another.
"I saw a difference in the dialogue being spoken in both languages. There is a big difference in expression. We were sensitive to the nuances of the language..to the expressions that each line that evokes..therefore we have true product that each language demands," he adds. The USP of the film is the outstanding performances he quips and says he would release the film depending on the availability of theatres in summer.
"I'd rather compete with cricket than other films..if the film is good people will miss cricket and come to watch the film," he signs off confidently.