The film was recently screened at the 51st International Film Festival of India, Goa and it explores the idea of personal space
In about 37 minutes, the Malayalam short film, Oru Paathiraa Swapnam Pole (Like a Midnight Dream in English), makes its audience introspect about the idea of personal space in relationships. The film, written and directed by Sharan Venugopal, was recently screened in the Indian Panorama Section at the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa. “I was always intrigued by the idea of personal space. When I thought of doing a movie, I decided to explore this subject,” says the 28-year-old filmmaker who is based in Thiruvananthapuram.
This is Sharan’s first film to be premièred at IFFI. “The experience was great. Many from the audience gave me their suggestions and opinions. I got appreciation from eminent directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Blessy,” he gushes.
Sharan made this movie as part of his Masters degree curriculum — in Direction and Scriptwriting — from the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata. “I chanced upon a short story written by writer Susmesh Chandroth called Vaibhavam in 2018. The initial idea of the story came from it, but I took seven months to flesh it out,” he says.
Oru Paathiraa Swapnam Pole revolves around Sudha (played by Nadiya Moidu) who accidentally finds a nude selfie video of her daughter, Theertha (played by Garggi Ananthan). “[Sudha’s] internal conflict and how she gets over her initial hesitation to confront her daughter is the most important element in the film,” says Sharan.
He adds that he had Nadiya Moidu in his mind while he wrote the character of Sudha. “I was unsure if she would be ready to play the role as I was still a student then. But she loved the script and agreed to join us.” He says most of the characters are either inspired by people around him or from himself. “For example, Sudha’s fear of confrontation comes from me,” he explains.
The film was shot in February 2019 in Kochi; most of the crew members were his batchmates from college. “We worked long hours, sometimes 19 hours a day, for eight days. But that is how it is in most film sets.” The film’s post-production was done in Kolkata and Mumbai, and by the time it was complete, the pandemic struck, resulting in film festivals being postponed or cancelled. “I was anxious as to when I will able to screen the film,” recalls Sharan.
His previous film called Sopanam was screened in many film festivals including the Mumbai International Film Festival, Kolkata International Film Festival and Indian Film Festival Stuttgart, Germany. “It is about a girl who wishes to continue the legacy of her father in music. This was also done as a college project. I am now working on my next one. It is a feature film and will be a satirical family drama that explores intricate family relationships,” he reveals.