tv & movies

How Rajkumar shot his short film ‘Janu’ in 50 hours


Up-and-coming director Rajkumar A talks about what went into the making of his short film, Janu

‘What really is life? Is it limited to living beings?’ is a question asked by the narrator Pranav Giridharan to the audience in Rajkumar A’s award-winning short film Janu. “I wanted everybody to relate to a non-living thing that still has some life in it. There is a legacy that you hold on to,” says Rajkumar.

Rajkumar, now an assistant director, forayed into cinema with no formal education in filmmaking — keeping in mind his favourite director Quentin Tarantino’s quote: “You don’t have to know how to make a movie. If you truly love cinema with all your heart and with enough passion, you can’t help but make a good movie.” This helped him while making Janu, which won this year’s 50 Hour Filmmaking Challenge at India Film Project, a content creation festival hosted in Mumbai.

The topic — ‘Reason to Road’ — was given to him at the beginning of the festival. It follows the emotional journey of a father and son and their love for a motorcycle. “The bike, Janu, bridges the gap between the two generations they come from,” he says.

About his own journey, Rajkumar says, “I am a bike enthusiast. I’ve been interested in bikes and cars ever since I was a child. My father owned an RX 100. Most of my team could connect to this particular emotion. That is how we came up with the concept.” The team that was put together by Rajkumar was, “not made up of best technicians, but are people who would go beyond the expected”.

The film features Praveen Gunashekaran, Engles and Dinesh in lead roles. What stand out in Janu are the frames and music. “We took immense care in doing each and every frame and character. The results are a by-product of the process,” he says, adding, “Our cinematographer Ganesh Yoganathan is primarily a photographer. Maybe that is why every shot has a story in itself.”

The music for the film is done by popular composer/music producer Jerry Silvester Vincent. “The music conveys the crux of the story. Jerry composed the music simultaneously when we were shooting. He gave it to us within 10 hours,” he adds.

Rajkumar followed the advice of one of his mentors, Anjali Menon, of Bangalore Days’ fame, who had once told him, “Trust in the process and not in the result.”

Maybe that is why the journey is more important than the destination, as empathised by Rajkumar’s Janu.

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