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‘Digital Platforms benefit filmmakers’

CHENNAI:Hari Viswanath’s 83-minute film Radiopetti won many international honours, but couldn’t make it to theatres. After approaching many leading producers and distributors in K’town for the past 18 months, he finally decided to release it on Netflix recently.

“Though independent filmmakers are increasing, we find it difficult to market our products. Without the minimum guarantee of returns, neither theatres nor individuals are buying the films,” says Hari, who has written, directed and co-produced Radiopetti, which narrates the relationship between an old man and his radio.

director Hari Viswanath

When his film won an award at the Busan International Film Festival, his hopes were high. He was desperate to get it released in theatres. That’s when he realised “Making films is easy, whereas, releasing them isn’t.” To his disappointment, every time he met a producer, he was told that his movie was like ‘Balu Mahendra’s Veedu’. “Class-a iruku padam; aana inga odadhu (Film is classy but it won’t run here). This isn’t cut-out for our audience’ is what most of them had told me,” he avers,
The director is a big fan of ‘festival kind of films’. He thinks such avenues encourage filmmakers who push the barriers of cinema, explore a larger connection to the space around him. “More producers should invest in independent cinema, so that there is a sustainable movie-production atmosphere,” he adds. Citing Thailand and Indonesia as examples, he elaborates how the scene is healthier abroad. “We need more theatres to show art films and have new avenues for screening films,” he shares.

He opines that digital platforms definitely benefit filmmakers. “Youngsters are churning out films one after the other, seeking ways to reach out to viewers. The audiences who subscribe to digital platforms are less, but Netflix offers subtitles as well. We (filmmakers) should look at it as creating more access and viewership rather than generating revenue. Let people get used to it first,” he smiles.
Radiopetti has no comedy tracks or dance sequences. It was shot in 15 days on a budget of less than
`1 crore. Having a mix of true
experiences and fiction, the story, set in Puducherry, deals with how senior citizens are unable to cope with the fast-paced world of today. While stage artiste Lakshmanan has played the lead role of the old man, Nivas Adithan of Kaaka Muttai (2015) fame, plays his son. Richard Ford, a British music composer, has worked on music.
Up next, he’s working on a ‘realistic feel-good film’. “I’d not say it’s a commercial movie, but hey… wait, it has songs. So, naturally it becomes one!” he laughs.

Source: The New Indian Express