Film on road safety wins awards at film fests during lockdown

Debut director Dr Maran’s Pachai Vilakku has been having a dream run at various film festivals during the lockdown. The film, which had its theatrical release in January, has been doing the rounds at various global film fests since March.

Dr Maran says, “We applied for events like Druk International Film Festival (Paro, Bhutan), New York Movie Awards (USA), Aphrodite Film Awards (USA), First-Time Filmmaker Sessions (USA), Americal Golden Picture International Film Festival (USA), CKF International Film Festival (UK), Florence Film Awards (Italy), FROSTBITE International Film Fest (Colorado) and Tripvill International Film Festival (India), among others. Because of the pandemic, the jury watched the film virtually and we were awarded with certificate of official selection and awards over mail. We have further applied to IFFI, which will be held in Goa in the next few months. That will also be held virtually and we have already consented to their conditions.”

The film went on floors in 2018 and Dr Maran says he had shot the film at live locations, like Mount Road, children’s traffic park near Anna Square, Thiruvannamalai’s Girivalam. “Several working professionals are part of Tamil Nadu Police Traffic Wing – they volunteer with cops to regulate traffic in the mornings and evening, and even organise awareness drives at least once a week,” says the filmmaker, “I’d done my PhD in road safety management, and I thought we should make a film on this. I’ve done an acting course with Y Gee Mahendran sir, so I’m quite passionate about this as well. I combined both my passions to come up with this film.”

Apart from road safety, the film also deals with porn mafia. He continues, “The film is about a lecturer who volunteers as a warden. He meets a woman who often breaks traffic rules and over a few meetings, they become close. One day, she leaves for hometown, but doesn’t return. When this guy tries to reach her, he finds out her sister has gotten caught in a sex racket. I decided to combine these two issues after the Pollachi incident came to light.”

While Dr Maran has played the lead, he’s roped in Imman Annachi, Manobala, Dheesha, Mahesh and Tara, among others, for important roles. “I approached Parthiban sir and Attakathi Dinesh for the lead, but things didn’t work out. So, I decided to play the part. Vedham Pudhithu Devendran has composed the music, Palani Barathi has penned the lyrics and Suresh Urs has handled the editing. I’ve also written a song about traffic rules and road safety,” says Dr Maran, adding, “The film released only in Chennai, but we didn’t get a longer window because Darbar released immediately after. So, our producer is keen to rerelease once theatres open. Though the film deals with strong subjects, it won’t be preachy at all.”