In Malayalam cinema, it is quite uncommon for a young film maker, who only has a short film to his credit, to make his debut as an independent director. Pinku Peter is clearly excited as his debut directorial venture Yuvam is all set to hit the big screens on 12 February. Having only directed a short film titled Kathir, Pinku credits his incredible confidence and wholehearted support of his friends as the driving force.
The tale of the youth
The movie Yuvam revolves around three youngsters, their experiences at a government office and the events that unfold after that. It explores how a common man would react to such incidents. “There isn’t anyone who hasn’t, at least once in their life, entered a government office for getting something done. Everyone would be wishing for the system to change. Common man would definitely understand this story. You have to watch the movie to know more,” says Pinku.
“Yes, Yuvam is indeed my dream project. The filming got over in February last year and we had planned to release it in March. However, the lockdown was announced by that time. It was really stressful waiting for more than a year to see your debut movie get released. We had released the teaser as a breather and it fetched great response. The energy that it gave me was amazing,” notes Pinku.
Started as an independent director
Pinku calls himself a believer in God. He says it was his ardent faith in the supreme power that guided him. “First, you need to trust yourself; then everything will fall into place. From childhood onwards, I always used to notice the names of the directors whenever I watch a movie. I began dreaming about becoming a director. I started a business after completing my studies. I wrote scripts during my free hours. My friend Ajith had worked in the movie Drishyam. When I showed him the script, he explained how to write a script professionally. That is how I polished and improved my script,” says the debutant director.
The directors who read Pinku’s scrip had liked it. Some of them even promised to do it after one or two years. However, Pinku says he wasn’t ready to wait and decided to direct it himself. He is grateful for the unrelenting support of his family and friends which motivated him to successfully complete his debut movie. He says he had enjoyed support and cooperation from the cinema industry too. Pinku is happy that he got all the support that a newcomer could get.
“The trust that Amith had in me was the main factor that gave me the confidence. I decided to direct this film myself when I thought that I couldn’t live without doing it. Amith, in fact was taking a big risk. Not just Amith, but the producers, technicians and all those who had worked in it had taken risks. Though we had scheduled the filming for 35 days, we could complete it in just 30 days. I too had taken the risk of dedicating time for the movie by keeping my business aside,” says Pinku.
Amith, the hero
Pinku was impressed by Amith’s incredible performance in Vaarikuzhiyile Kolapathakam which went on to become a sleeper hit. Amith too was waiting for a good project that could give him a break. Pinku met Amith and narrated the script. He told the actor that he had only directed a short film and that he was confident to make the feature film. Amith too had watched Pinku’s short film. The actor nodded ‘yes’ as he was impressed by the screenplay. Getting Amith’s dates was really a confidence booster for Pinku.
Path to dream
One of his close friends Ajith had helped Pinku whenever the latter had struggled, especially after completing the screenplay. “My relatives and friends encouraged me and gave me confidence. One of my uncles encouraged me a lot when I spoke about this project. My uncle Johny Makkona took up the production of this movie. My cousins and friends too had helped by giving me Rs 3 or 5 lakhs whenever I was short of money. That is how we could complete the filming on a budget of Rs 3 crore,” notes the director.
“Many had stood with me saying, ‘you give it a try even if the money is lost’. I have heard people saying in interviews that a movie would be good if the technicians are good. So, I had decided that I wanted good technicians. I sat with a group of friends to write and improve the script. I completed the script by doing great home work. The screenplay is the soul of this movie,” states Pinku.
Cinematographer Sajith who had worked in Mammootty starrer Unda had also wielded the camera for Pinku’s hort film Kathir. Pinku used to visit the sets where Sajith was working. A film crew had worked on the sets of Kathir too. Pinku says he could learn a lot from all of them. Sajith agreed to do the camera for Yuvam and Pinku roped in John Kutty as the editor. The music is composed by Gopi Sundar. Pinku says the veteran composer readily agreed to do the music after listening to the script.
Pinku says associating with talented technicians had helped a new comer like him. The film maker admits that everyone including Amith was a little worried during the initial days of the filming. However, they regained confidence within just two days. “We are really fortunate that Central Pictures had taken up the distribution of this movie. In the beginning, when we had approached them, they were a little reluctant. They said that they already had a few films lined up for release. But, they agreed to distribute after watching the movie,” reveals Pinku.
Pinku says he had never tried for an OTT release as he wished to see his debut movie released in theaters. Besides, it is a bit difficult to convince the OTT platforms, especially if it is a small movie directed by a debutant. So, Pinku decided not to approach them lest he should be disappointed. “The response that you get from the theaters is vital. We do the camera and the sound to suit the theater experience. We make movie for the audience who come to the theaters. You cannot enjoy that experience in OTT,” says Pinku.
“This is the movie that would determine my future. I am waiting for Yuvam to get released and for the responses too. I could decide whether I should stay or leave only after it. I am entrusting my first work to the audience. Lord Almighty has removed all the obstacles in my path until now. I hope for the same in the future too. I have said whatever I need to in the movie. Everyone should watch the movie and give their opinions. I am sure that the film would give you positive vibes. The rest is in the hands of the audience,” Pinku signs off.