Exclusive: Barath Neelakantan straddles two worlds perfectly

Y. Sunita Chowdhary

Director Barath Neelakantan is six years old in cinema. He signed a feature film before K13 released and just when the pre-production before March this year began, lockdown happened. He was a HR manager in an IT company and moved to the film industry. He always liked films but never knew if he wanted to make them. After quitting my corporate job, he ran his own consulting company for a couple of years and then came to films. Barath is happy he is well on his way. He also started acting in short films to learn film making and did 3 or 4 commercials as an actor as well and is balancing both perfectly. “People are welcoming new talent, their exposure to Indian and world cinema is a huge asset. Earlier we would watch only big star films in Hindi but now we see Badhai Ho and Andhadhun and we talk about it,” he adds while discussing his debut OTT movie with Klapboardpost.com.

OTT high: All over the globe, we don’t see the OTT as the smallest screen version anymore. We understand it better, thanks to the lockdown. I have signed up as a writer for the OTT and I am also going to direct a movie for the big screen too. K13 (a psychological thriller) was my debut. Any medium is fine as long as you express your creative form, I will continue to do short films. You have 90 to 180 minutes to express something, and when you have to do that in 20 minutes or in 5 minutes sometimes, it gives you a high it is all the more challenging. Here in this case, it is all already done, a huge job is wonderfully done, I just had to work and bring it out effectively on screen without disappointing the writer. It is a bait for me to take it up. This is the first time I am directing someone else’s content.

The USP: I only listened to this story and I liked it. I felt close to it, with the content of it and the take. It is more of a drama and it is exciting. This is a different version of what I had written for my film actually. Sujatha and I were working on scripts for a few years and she knows me and Siva well. I would have taken any story that she would have given me. Another reason why I didn’t listen to other stories is the title which I liked, it is Crossroads. You have to feel at the midst of the crossroads to work on it and enjoy it better. We always associate midlife crisis and cross roads with our professional life and not dare to put that in personal space. Most of us say we have arrived and we are settled but that is not the case. Here we are not judging anyone. It is more of the writer, he wants to play what is the audience’s call. They make interesting decisions and the people will debate if they are doing right or not which is the USP of The Crossroads.

Central theme: There is a married man played by Prasanna, we don’t know if it is a strained relationship. We only talk of only one night in the story and you know and also not know about the three people on that one night. You don’t know who is at fault. It is a talkie-drama story. You will love and also hate some of the characters for what they are being, they are beautifully written and the consistency in all these stories are actually reflecting the trailer. One dialogue from one story will be cue to another dialogue in the next story. In the trailer if you see it is cut in such a way, it will give you an impression that it is one story because the central theme is morality.

On the cast & crew: All are my friends and we worked together in different capacities. I worked with Prasanna in his film where I was the first AD. I am comfortable with him. The producers and Shiva, I have known them and met JP, Kishore for different reasons. I would have written a story like that, I like these dark movie films. There are certain stories you need to feel close to your heart and write such stuff and Crossroads is one such story. I added some creative points and Shiva was very sweet, open and said go ahead and shoot.  We had trust in each other. We all had very remote discussions on Zoom and the output came, all of us were very happy with it. The stories are roughly around 20 minutes, the audience will talk about the right and wrong. It’s a one night story and you don’t know much about the three characters other than the time we see them spend with each other. Even in real life, that is applicable, we think we know our spouses well, but we don’t know them despite the number of years we spend with them.

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