Published: 17th April 2017
Why Milan Siraj's short film Kambam, which is setting the college festival circuit alight, will make you never book a seedy room for a romantic getaway
Milan Siraj talks about his debut short film Kambam, which discusses rape, sex tapes and the power of extortion in a modern Indian setting riddled with age-old societal constructs
There are certain films that you can watch again and again for its sheer ability to entertain and cater to the unfulfilled dreams of the audience, and then there are movies which will leave you shaken and remind you of the disturbing reality of life. 24-year-old Milan Siraj's debut film Kambam is one of those films that will leave you shaken. The short film traces the life of a juvenile who gets emroiled in the dark web of life and is exposed to violence and rape.
The film, which starts off with a couple walking into a home-stay by the beach, ends with the screams of a woman. It also tells the story of a juvenile who gets entangled in a rape and how helpless he becomes. The filmmaker and scriptwriter, Milan Siraj from Aluva, Kerala, has taken a neutral position, allowing the audience their own interpretation of the characters. He has portrayed them in shades of grey, thus making a film without the conventional hero, heroine and villain nametags. "Every filmmaker has a visual language and that's what makes a film, a film. Otherwise, it’s just photographic drama or theatre. So what we have tried to do is take a neutral stand about the whole plot for the audience to judge. Different people have different takes on each character according to their own moral sense," says Milan.
The crew: The cast and crew of the film during one of the scenes
Making KAMBAM in particular, I was in the best position in my life emotionally and I purposefully looked for a story which could disturb my audience..Because I had the ability to look into an issue with an outsiders perspective..and that gives u more power over the story in keeping an open perspective in the film, taking no sides
Milan Siraj, Filmmaker
He still hasn't released his film on YouTube, feeling that it needs to reach the audience even if it means that he has to travel to the venues and set up screenings. "As a beginner, I'm slowly picking up momentum and so is the film. It was screened at few colleges like T Johns Institute of Technology, Benagluru, Pondicherry University and also a few film societies in Kerala. Most of the film festivals, which we have sent the film to, are yet to be held. One of the most notable screenings was held at the International Film Festival of Kerala, where the film was screened in front of the IFFK guests," says Milan. He also points out that the response to his film from these screenings have been overwhelming and has been told that it has a theatrical feeling, which he feels is an achievement for his directorial debut.
Between takes: Director Milan Siraj and Cinematographer Ravishankar Krishna during the shoot
Like other short films, this one too has been made with close friends and family as actors, technicians and production controllers, but the difference is evident from other amateur short films as the crew was trained before the shoot. Milan says, "The production team hunted for the required locations, while the rest of us were busy training the actors. With the help of this training, all the artists were emotionally naked in front of each other and were able to slip into the skin of their characters with relative ease. And each artist interpreted their character according to how they actually behave in real life, which helped the character achieve that rawness I wanted."