Published: 07th November 2020
Here's why Gautham Menon's Ondraga Entertainment released a short film by these students
Meemu, a Malayalam short film by a group of students is gaining a lot of attention online. We spoke to the people behind it and explored its Gautham Menon connect
Throughout his time as a school and as a college student until up to a few years ago, Rishi Joy Vijay befriended quite a few people who shared a dream similar to his. All of them wanted to make a film. Years passed and most of them enrolled in different professional courses, including Rishi, who pursued a degree in Law from The National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi. However, something unusual happened after that. Sometime around 2017, all 15 of Rishi's friends ended up moving to Chennai to study different aspects of filmmaking, including acting, cinematography, editing and VFX. "We wanted to equip ourselves with the skills and start making our own films. That was the dream," says Rishi. Over the years, the lot of them held on tight to that dream and so they named their team Dream on Reel.
In the beginning of September this year, the team released its third short film Meemu, which has gained a lot of attention online. Notably, it was released through director Gautham Menon's Ondraga Entertainment and was launched by a group of actors and filmmakers, including Vineeth Sreenivasan, Jeethu Joseph, Unni Mukundan, Ramya Nambeesan, Ahaana Krishna and Aparna Balamurali. "Meemu was our lockdown project," says Rishi. "The original plan was to develop a full-length feature film but that was when COVID hit. Since we were stuck at home during the lockdown, we thought of sticking to the short film format. Meemu was pretty much a zero-budget film, we did not have to hire anyone from outside the team. We merely had to spend on dubbing," says Rishi.
The film that talks about the life of a young man named Jose (portrayed by Rishi) who wants to be a singer, draws parallels between dreams and fate. One can watch it on Ondraga Enternatinmant's YouTube channel.
The 15-minute-long film was shot in and around two team members' houses in Kerala. Rishi also tells us how they made spotlights out of the equipment available around them. "We had to keep the budget under control as much as possible," he says. Rishi essayed the protagonist's role here. "I have always been passionate about acting. That is one reason why I chose to pursue Law. I've heard of lawyers who transform to great actors in the courtroom. I wanted to learn that skill," he says. He then pursued an acting course fromRaging Bull Actors Studio in Chennai.
The response to the film which was released on September 4 on YouTube has been overwhelming, says Rishi. However, what surprised him the most was how Gautham Menon agreed to release the film. Rishi says that it was all serendipitous. "A kind woman who happened to watch our film when it was still in post-production asked if she could send it to someone. We had no idea that she was sending it to Gautham Menon though. Turns out, he liked the film a lot," he says, overjoyed.