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'There is no sexual content in Kulir 100 Degrees'

May 28, 2009 11:53 IST

'There is no sexual content in Kulir 100 Degrees'

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Shobha Warrier

Though an engineer by profession Anita Udeep, the daughter of Pentamedia chief V Chandrasekharan, chose to be a filmmaker. Her latest Tamil film Kulir 100 Degrees is ready to hit the theatres soon.

In this interview, Anita talks about her new feature film, and the film production house she has started.

Why did you decide to start another production house -- Envis Entertainment -- when you have Pentamedia, started by your father to make animation films?

When I did my Masters in filmmaking in the US, I was exposed to many kinds of films by different filmmakers. I want to make such films here in Tamil. I feel it is the right time as the audience is looking at different kinds of cinema.

I started my company two years ago only after I learnt the market and the way the audience react. I talked to a lot of people in the film industry and watched a lot of Tamil films before starting to make a film. I named it Envis because En in Tamil is my and vis is for vision; it's My Vision.


Image: Anita Udeep

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'The film is about six kids -- one girl and five boys'

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Did you write the story of Kulir 100 degrees?

Yes, I wrote the story, script and dialogues. Basically, my idea was to make a film on Standard 11 and 12 students. But I didn't want to concentrate on the classrooms; I wanted to tell a story of what happens after school. It is a bit about growing up. I felt this idea was not tackled in Tamil cinema before.

What kind of research did you do?

I interacted with a lot of youngsters as times have changed from when I studied. I do not know the lingo these kids use, the kind of music they listen to or the kind of films they watch these days. I have a lot of relatives here; rather we have a relative in every street in Chennai. So, I spent a lot of time with them.

Is your film about sexual awakening, infatuation, first love, etc?

There is no sexual content in my film. My film is not about that. There is a little bit of infatuation which I cannot avoid as it is a part of growing up. My film is not about sexual awakening but more about friendship and infatuation.

The film is about six kids -- one girl and five boys -- (Surya, Tanya, Beelo, Akash, Rohit and Raltik) and how things change between them as days go by. They study in a residential school in a hill station. The film is told from a boy's perspective. The boys are from Tamil Nadu but the girl is from the north. I have tried to bring four seasons in the film starting with summer, then autumn, the monsoon and winter.


Image: A scene from Kulir 100 Degrees

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'I had to be a 17-year-old to make Kulir 100 Degrees'

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Does nature play an important role in the film? Are you incorporating the mood of nature with the mood of the students?

Yes. The story starts when the higher secondary starts and progresses as the season changes. The film ends when the high school ends.

Was it tough writing a screenplay on teenagers?

It was quite tough because I had to be a 17-year-old and think like them once again. The lingo they use has to be correct. I haven't added any melodrama in the film. Even the songs carry the story forward.

Why such a title? How can you have Kulir and 100 degrees at the same time?

Kulir is cold and 100 degrees is the boiling temperature. That is how teenagers are. They are hot and cold; they move from one to another. It also denotes the state of mind of these youngsters. At that age, you are confused, not sure about which way to go. That is what I want to capture in this film. The film talks about the thought process of the kids.

It is a practice of many filmmakers to preach and say that today's youth are losing values, etc etc. Are you also going to take such a stance?

I am only going to observe them; I am not going to take a stand. I will not be judgmental.


Image: A scene from Kulir 100 Degrees

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'It took me almost a year to find the right kids'

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How did you pick the actors?

It took me almost a year to find the right kids. I wanted somebody without baggage. They have to look perfectly as my characters; they also should know how to act.

Where did you shoot the film as the school is in a hill station?

I shot the film in London, Ooty, Yercaud and Switzerland. I shot abroad because I needed the seasons. But in the film, there is no name for the place where the film takes place. It is my own dream land! I want the film to be visually appealing.

How has the experience been as the director?

I was very excited on the first day of shoot. We shot interiors first as I was working with new set of actors and technicians. I was ready to go beyond the script all the time. At the end of day one I felt fine.

There are very few women directors in Tamil. How has the industry been? Welcoming?

I think they have been welcoming. I haven't felt any hostility. Everyone has been quite supportive so far. Maybe because I am generally friendly with people.


Image: A scene from Kulir 100 Degrees

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'I was one among the five selected to work on a science fiction series Taken by Spielberg'

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What are your future plans for Envis?

I want to direct a couple of films. I want to encourage as many newcomers as I can too. I plan to tie up with corporate houses so that we can make more films.

Are you planning to make only Tamil films?

I don't plan to restrict myself. There is a market for every kind of films. We have to have an idea about the target audience.

You worked for Stephen Spielberg when you were a student. How did that happen?

When I was doing my studies in the US, there was a call from his studio asking for five students to join him. First there was an interview of 2000 students. After a series of tests and interviews, I was one among the five selected to work on a science fiction series Taken by Spielberg. I worked on it for a year and a half.

It was like working in a dream land. Everything was so professional that you learn a lot. One met a lot of people from different walks of life. It was a great experience, in a different world.


Image: A scene from Kulir 100 Degrees

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