Venue : Cafe Coffee Day Lounge, Hyderabad. Date : 20-01-2013
Interview with Machi Escape Crew: Vivek Suriyamoorthy (Story, Screenplay & Direction) and Krishnan Ganesan (Music Director)
1. How did you conceive the plot of Machi Escape?
Vivek : Around 2009, my room-mates and I used to commute to office using share-autos. I always keep visualizing quite a lot of “What If” scenarios during this commute of 20 minutes. That gave birth to the plot of Machi Escape.
2. Why the title Machi Escape? (It’s partly English and partly Tamil.)
Vivek : ‘Machi’ is no longer a Tamil word, thanks to Kolaveri culture. Besides, given the scenario in the plot, these were the first words that came to my mind. Although there were few other suggestions for the title later, we stuck to the first one.
3. Have you faced any ‘Machi Escape’ moments in your life till now?
Vivek : Quite a few, but can’t disclose in a public forum. (Smiles)
Krishnan: (Smiles) I think each one of us would have had this moment at some point or the other in our lives. e.g. We would have visualized confrontation of various scenarios with our friends / parents / teachers etc and would have taken the Machi Escape route to avoid them.
4. When did you discover this passion (to create / work in a short film) ?
Vivek : My father used to have critical and deep observations on Tamil movies. Whenever I sat down with him to watch a movie, he would come up with minute and valid observations. e.g. There is a scene in “Hey Ram” movie, where a background bhajan is added to suit for the ‘Marghazhi’ season. He observed this and pointed it out to me that Kamal Hassan took utmost care even on the smallest details. This fascinated me. I realized that the technical aspects of a movie was more fun than watching the movie itself. There started my passion. Screenplay was my first love. I keep visualizing one liners and try to add screenplay to develop the one liner / idea into a full-fledged short film / feature film.
Krishnan: Music used to fascinate me right from my childhood. However as I grew up, I started taking up piano classes and started playing. I discovered the true passion in me when I was fixed more on the sound track than anything else while watching movies in theatres. That’s when I realized the passion is growing stronger.
5. How did you cope up with making a short film while working for a software firm in parallel?
Vivek : The plot was conceived in 2009 and it took a lot of will power and persuasion to roll out the completed short film by 2012 end. Since it is a freelance venture, gathering all cast and crew at the same time was the major challenge. If the crew was there one of the cast members were not there. However those were for genuine reasons so I had no complaints. Infact I am very thankful for the entire team for sparing their weekends to bring my idea to life. We filmed all of it during weekends so it did not affect our work much.
Sethuraman played a major role in editing and post-production. Sujay was like the executive producer, arranging locations for the shoot and making execution possible. Bhasky was the optimist during the prolonged pre-production phase. Arun was the epitome of dedication, he was always up to the point. Usha was a telugite, however she volunteered to dub her own voice for tamil dialogues, and it worked out really well for her character.
Krishnan: I finished the music in two weekends (smiles), so my work was not affected either. Wanted to pitch in a live instrument (Uduku) for the end-credits for better impact, however could not execute it. So had to be satisfied with a similar sound on my keyboard.
6. What are the next steps, how do you plan to carry forward this passion?
Vivek : I am planning to read more books on Screenplay, Direction and Cinematography. This would increase my theory knowledge. And I also need to work on few more short films and excel technically before I take the leap to feature films.
Krishnan: Attending karaokes, Small jam sessions, Guitar classes etc. I just want stay in touch with music whenever I have free time. Ultimately exposure and experience is the best teacher in my art.
7. Any fun moments while filming that you like to share with us?
Vivek : Audition bloopers, fixing the auto (break-down) while shooting in it, shooting Usha while she was acting dead. The list goes on. These are not moments, these are permanent memories.
Krishnan: Auditions for the climax scene where the participants had to get scared looking at a corpse. This brought the roof down. We got to see some of the funniest expressions from our friends.
8. Actor Siddharth recently produced and acted in a movie titled Love Failure that was inspired from a short film. If such an opportunity presents itself would you be game?
Vivek : As I mentioned earlier, I can’t take up direction/ camera till I gauge myself as fit for a feature film. However if I get a chance to write the screenplay I will take it up for sure!
–Varun Mannava Gowtham