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  • Writer's pictureThe Communiqué

Malayalam movie at 54th IFFI, "Aattam" kicks off the Indian Panorama Feature Film Section

22 November 2023, IFFI Premises: The Malayalam film Aattam premiered yesterday in the Indian Panorama section of IFFI 54, which provides a fantastic cinematic experience for filmgoers. Anand Ekarshi's directorial debut, Attam, investigates the relationships between an individual and a community when placed in difficult situations.

While engaging with the media at the 54th International Film Festival of India in Goa, director Anand Ekarshi of the film Aattam stated that the "overarching theme of the film is not specific to any gender or patriarchy as such." It was envisioned in layers of dynamics between the individual and the group, with the group consisting of males and the person being a lady." He notes that the plot includes a gender study, but the image is not region or gender specific.

Ekarshi directs this 140-minute-long cinematic masterwork, directing a cast lead by the dynamic combo Vinay Forrt and Zarin Shihab. In terms of the film's plot, he says it depicts a growing dynamic between a person and a group. "It wasn't inspired by 12 Angry Men; rather, it was a natural progression, but it's an honour to be compared to the film," he remarked in response to a question. The film's concept was formed during the COVID pandemic time during a typical talk on a trip with friends, he replied when asked how the film was conceived.

Vinay Forrt, the film's principal actor, communiqué that he was on a trip with his 20-year theatrical pals when "we decided to represent our friendship, togetherness, and art in some way, and it was decided to do a film." It fell to Anand, who is the most "creative and well-read" of the bunch, according to Forrt. This concept was eventually realised in the film Aattam. He went on to say, "Attam is very personal, and it's a family project, close to my heart."

Forrt commended Anand for his directorial finesse as he “understood the strength and limitation of every individual actor and handled that very well and as a viewer, it translated into great performances.” On the question of what motivates him as an actor, Forrt remarked, "Exciting script, challenging character, and such other factors are important".

Talking of the movie, Zarin Shihab said that, “the response to the film has been fantastic.” She commends the director and adds, “it is great to see theatre artists coming together for the film and Anand has very smartly used theatrical devices and elements to elevate the storytelling for the screen.”  

On that topic, director Ekarshi stated that nine of the performers were making their feature film debuts and that "transitioning from theatre to cinema is a task, and acting for a shot is a challenge for stage actors." The most significant element was the 35 days of scene rehearsals before the shoot to get acquainted to the camera and the set."

Renganath Ravi, the film's sound designer, discussed the problems of shooting with 13 actors in the same area, but how the sound design made it intriguing, providing a subtle layer to the film.

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