Merku Thodarchi Malai, produced by Vijay Sethupathi, won the Best cinematography award at the Bioscope International Film Festival, Punjab. Theni Eshwar is the cinematographer of the film.
Director Lenin Bharathi, in conversation with Silverscreen, spoke of the challenges the team faced while capturing the landscape. “The film is about the farmers who do not own land in the Western Ghats region in the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border. It deals with the politics, lifestyle of the people there. The film does not have the regular close up shots or the cuts you see generally. Most of them are wide angle shots, which will give the viewers a feel of how they would see the landscape if they were at the spot. So this was a challenge, because close ups are helpful to convey expressions of the actors. It’s not the same in wide angles. Moreover, we had to take the equipment ourselves early in the morning everyday into the reserve forests. Sometimes we just had to leave the equipment behind too.”
Lenin is a former associate of director Suseenthiran, and also wrote the screenplay for Aadhalal Kaadhal Seiveer.
Merku Thodarchi Malai has music by Ilaiyaraja, and features many new artists.”Most of the actors in the film are the natives of the region, as we wanted the film to be as real as it can get. I stayed in the area for almost 2 years to mingle with and train the people there. Even the lead actors were employed at the Cardamom estate there for a few months.”
Vijay Sethupathi came on board the project after listening to the one liner of the scrip. Lenin Bharathi also re-iterated the need for good producers in the industry.
The film will also be screened at the International Film Festival of Kerala in December this year, and a few other festivals, after which it will have a theatrical release.