Techie Directs Malayalam movie
By Resmi Jaimon
Basil Joseph is an Engineering graduate in Electrical and Electronics from Govt Engineering College Trivandrum. Basil worked as a Testing Engineer in banking software Finacle at Infosys, Trivandrum for two years before he made up his mind to pursue his passion for the creative world of movies and film making as a full-time career. His film has been produced by another Techie.
Techgoss (TG): Kunjiramayanam, your debut movie having just hit the theatres, tell us the story behind Kunjiramayanam and the cast who form the core of your movie.
Basil Joseph (BJ): Kunjiramayanam is produced by Suvin K Varkey, another techie in Technopark, Trivandrum. Last year I met him to produce a short film of mine, but he instead asked why shouldn't I do a movie instead. It was then I started working on the movie along with Deepu Pradeep, another techie turned script writer. We finished the scripting by last November and narrated the story to Aju and Dhyan Sreenivasan first and Vineeth Sreenivasan later. Everyone liked the story and we started the shoot in April 2015.
TG: Although you have just made your presence as a feature film director, you have experience directing short films. What were the challenges you faced while doing a short film? How different are the challenges when you directed a full-length movie
BJ: For a short film everything has to be done by ourselves starting from production management to transportation, food etc along with the creative side. But the pressure of deadlines and budget is not there. In movies, the production headaches are less, there are people in every department which helps us to concentrate only on the creative side. But the pressure is huge comparatively to meet the deadlines and budgets.
TG: Tell us about your short films till date.
BJ: My short film is a comedy entertainer named Priyamvadha Katharayano which was released in 2012. Short films weren't a trend then. Hence, people noticed it and so did Vineeth Sreenivasan and Aju Varghese too, which gave way for me into the movies. The friendship with Aju Varghese then leaded to the short film Oru Thundu Padam released in 2013 with Aju in the lead. I have done few little shorts and ads as well later.
TG: When did you first realize your love for film-making?
BJ: I had this interest in movies since a long time. But since there weren't any friends or godfathers in the film industry I never had a clue and so just like others I went along with the flow. After graduating from College of Engineering Trivandrum , I got into Infosys through campus placement. I participated in stage performances during my college days and same continued in Infosys as well.
It was at this point, the thought of giving a try from my side without waiting for an opportunity came to my mind. So, I started doing short films for my own satisfaction so that I wouldn't regret later that I didn't even give a try to do something of my interest. It worked out well. In fact, the short film worked out really well and so here I am . I am so happy so far for whatever happened and I thank God for everything.
TG: How did you learn the art of film-making?
BJ: I started learning the basic techniques through YouTube videos and online tutorials . Books from Trivandrum central library had also helped me learn the technology. With the lessons learned, I have closely watched many movies from filmmakers of my interest. I found time to learn film making techniques in the nights , while still working in Infosys. I still remember there were many sleepless nights , which in fact end up sleeping inside the office cubicle where my manager and colleagues caught me red handed, a number of times.
TG: How well did your experience as an assistant director in Vineeth Sreenivasan's movie Thira help you when you directed Kunjiramayanam?
BJ: Thira has helped me a lot. First of all, a pillar of support, Vineeth Sreenivasan showed me how humble a human being can be. I learned the complete process and setup in cinema, compared to short films. It's a different world . Thira was a huge learning experience for me , learning the process, techniques and the complete setup of the movie industry with all its hierarchy etc
TG: Share with us your educational and professional background?
BJ: I am an Engineering graduate in Electrical and Electronics from Government Engineering College Trivandrum (CET). I worked in Infosys, Trivandrum for two years before I quit my job to do movies.
TG: What was your nature of work at Infosys?
BJ: I was a testing engineer in the banking software named Finacle.
TG: What is the best advice you got when you decided to direct your first movie? Who are your role models and supporters?
BJ: The best advice I remember when I quit my job to direct my first movie was that "Now it's do or die. Just do it.. Don't look back. Go ahead with your dream whatever the result may be.". My role model is of course none other than Vineeth Sreenivasan (Vineethettan) as a filmmaker and as a human being . My family has supported me a lot too especially my sister.
TG: Now, that you have quit your full-time job, do you intend to spend your future in the film industry? What are you working on next?
BJ: Yes sure . I am looking forward for more . I would love to do some simple movies within a minimum budget but to entertain people. I find no reason to go back to a software company spending the rest of my life in front of a computer. Whether I am successful or not, I am happy that I am doing something I loved .
Techgoss Note:: Resmi Jaimon is a Kerala based freelance writer, who is now keen on exploring visual media through talk shows, food and travel shows. More about her at her website