Malayali filmmaker Shalini Ushadevi on profitable the National Award for the Best Screenplay for the Tamil movie ‘Soorarai Pottru’

Shalini is now engaged on the screenplay of a real crime sequence for Netflix and can quickly be writing and directing a Hindi film

Shalini is now engaged on the screenplay of a real crime sequence for Netflix and can quickly be writing and directing a Hindi film

Filmmaker and screenplay author Shalini Ushadevi is flying excessive on accolades as she baggage her first National Film Award for Best Screenplay (authentic) for the Tamil movie Soorarai Pottru, which she co-wrote with Sudha Kongara, the movie’s director. In truth, Soorarai Pottrupartly impressed by the life and occasions of entrepreneur Captain GR Gopinath of low-cost service Air Deccan, gained 5 National Awards — probably the most for any movie this 12 months — together with the awards for Best Film, Best Actor for Suriya and Best Actress for Aparna Balamurali, its lead stars.

As somebody who typically shuns the limelight and prefers to let her work speak, we discover Shalini at her dwelling in Thiruvananthapuram fielding dozens of congratulatory calls, posing for images and being garlanded with innumerable ponnadas (shawls) from well-wishers. Taking a breather she says, a tad self-consciously, “The award got here as a pleasing shock. All the eye, not a lot! I’m touched by all of the assist, although.”

Fahadh Faasil and Anumol in a still from Akam, directed by Shalini Ushadevi

Fahadh Faasil and Anumol in a nonetheless from Akam, directed by Shalini Ushadevi | Photo Credit: Special association

In tinsel city

After graduating in course from the Prague Film School within the Czech Republic, Shalini debuted in filmdom as the author and director of the Malayalam movie Akam (2011), a modern-day adaptation of Malayatoor Ramakrishnan’s seminal novel Yakshi, It stars Fahadh Faasil and Anumol within the lead and tells the story of a younger architect who begins to suspect that his spouse is a yakshi (demoness).

Soorarai Pottru (2020) is solely her second ever credited screenplay and first big-budget movie. It narrates the story of small-town man Nedumaaran aka Maara (Suriya), an air drive pilot, who aspires to begin a finances airline and the hardships and apathy he faces on his quest to present wings to his desires.

Suriya and Aparna Balamurali in a still from Soorarai Pottru

Suriya and Aparna Balamurali in a nonetheless from Soorarai Pottru
, Photo Credit: Special association

Shalini and Sudha labored on the screenplay of the movie for nearly two years. “Sudha had already written the story when I came on board. Essentially, the film is a business tale. To turn what is a fairly dry subject into a screenplay with heart, an underdog story that could resonate with everyone, required a lot of work and re-work from us. Sudha was particular about the script being airtight and had a very clear picture about it,” says Shalini.

The duo structured the screenplay to traverse between the previous and the current and managed to drag it off moderately brilliantly. “The idea was to show the struggle of an entrepreneur. To marry the two timelines seamlessly was a real challenge. For someone like me who is terrible at math, screenplays are the closest I get to making things fit mathematically and finding a balance,” she says.

Another aspect of the screenplay that won the hearts of both the audience and critics alike was the character of Bommi (Aparna), Maara’s wife and boss woman in her own right, who is struggling to set up a bakery business. “She doesn’t strive to be likeable and she is not okay being a martyr. She is a woman with her own ambitions, has a rich internal life and her own obstacles to overcome. It was important to us that Bommi’s journey as an entrepreneur was as important as Maara’s,” says the writer-director, breaking off moderately resignedly, to attend yet one more sudden ponnada felicitation.

Art of story-telling

Back within the sizzling seat a short time later, Shalini contemplates her love for filmmaking. “As a literature graduate, I like storytelling in its many forms. I like the art of cinema and like every aspect of filmmaking. That said, the backbone of a film for me is the script; it’s always the hero of the film. I enjoy writing both fiction and non-fiction. My training as a journalist also has helped me identify subjects, decode research and find the heart of the story. To tell it cinematically is something that I enjoy,” she says.

So, what makes screenplay? “You should be invested within the characters, be engaged within the plot and be capable of, as they are saying, ‘kill your darlings’, that’s chop out something and the whole lot pointless,” she explains, adding that for Soorarai Pottru she has applied lessons learn from her work on Akam, “I made my first film to my own metric. This time around I was constantly thinking about the audience and their wants and needs. Ultimately it is for them that we make a film, right?”

Not one to relaxation on laurels, Shalini is already onerous at work on her subsequent screenplay — a real crime sequence for Netflix, produced by India Today. She can also be writing and directing a Hindi film for a significant manufacturing home, to be introduced shortly.

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