Debutant filmmaker Vi Anand describes his forthcoming Tamil movie "Appuchi Graamam", which releases in cinemas Friday, as a science-fiction story enveloped in the style that R.K. Narayan's "Malgudi Days" was told.
"It's actually a village drama with science-fiction element as the backdrop. I've handled this film the way 'Malgudi Days' was shot. The filmmaking style is very simple. We've captured the life in a village as realistically as possible and never tried to enhance the viewing experience with any gimmicks," Anand told IANS.
The film's script was inspired by a newspaper article Anand read in his childhood.
"The article was about a small village near Erode (in Tamil Nadu). When news about 'end of the world' broke out, people in this village were so much in panic that they decided to celebrate every living minute. They started celebrating with family and friends because they felt that might be their last day on earth," he said.
"What inspired me was that how the news about the 'end' had so much effect on the lives of these people in the small village. The core idea of the film is that when we know about the time and day of our death, we tend to be different from how we used to live," he added.
Anand decided that the only way he could talk about the 'end of the word' in his story if he included an element of natural disaster.
"I stumbled upon research information that meteorites and asteroids are among the top ten threats to mankind. Thus, the sci-fi angle was justified," he said.
"I never wanted to do a story about an asteroid hitting a village. It's the other way around. I wanted to capture the human emotions when death is upon us and we can't do anything about it. When tsunami struck us a few years ago, there was so much of drama in it required for a film's story," Anand added.
Asked how he managed to strike a balance between the genres, he said: "The beauty of this script is that I get to bring together two extreme things -- a remote village where people are not bothered about life beyond theirs and an asteroid that's scheduled to attack soon.
"I felt this contrast is the magic. If an asteroid is slated to hit a city, people prepare themselves much in advance because they can afford. It will be the exact opposite when it hits a village."
Anand, who had written the film's script six years ago, said finding a producer was a challenge.
"I had pitched it to a lot of producers and when they learnt that it's about an asteroid coming to hit a village, they automatically assumed that people won't understand and accept it," he said.
"The biggest misconception is that sci-fi films cost a lot. Many producers were under the assumption that I would spend some Rs.20 crore on the project. But we managed to make this film on a budget most would be surprised to know," he shared.
Anand finally managed to find a producer because he convinced them that "Appuchi Graamam" is not a full length sci-fi film. "There's lot of drama and humour in our film. My approach to the subject is very commercial and that's what appealed to my producers," he said.
Produced by Eye Catch Media, the film features Praveen, Anusha, Suja and Swasika in the lead roles.