The seeds of success

The seeds of success

The seeds of success

Given the times we live in, women directors are few and far between. But for Anjali Menon, it wasn’t hard to find a footing in a predominantly male bastion and call the shots.

Communicating through a simple language, her cinema walked into the hearts of a global audience. More importantly, it proved that a good film is understood universally.

Anjali’s Malayalam film Manjadikkuru (‘Lucky Red Seeds’), which was released recently, has been receiving accolades. The film, which tells the nostalgic story of a 10-year-old boy who returns to his village to attend the funeral of his grandfather, had made waves at the ‘South Asian International Film Festival’ at New York winning five grand jury awards.

“The honour,” says Anjali, “is humbling and the film went beyond my expectations. It was a personal film for me. But so it was for the audience.” For Anjali, who was raised in Dubai, the film seems to be an extension of herself.

“As a film-maker, I believe in the product and at no stage, did we compromise. You go to a lot of people through the audience. There is always the risk of who is going to connect with your film,” she says.

Anjali does not think that the gender stands in the way of a film-maker. “I don’t think a woman director is any different, although world over, women directors are few. The area where the gender comes in is when she has to juggle the roles of a wife, daughter and mother, as I did. I am privileged to have a supportive family,” she adds.

Anjali, who has done her masters from the London International Film School with top honours, says, “It was fabulous. There were people from different cultures, some who could not even speak English. But we were able to cut across the differences and work in a space.”

Anjali’s 10-minute film, ‘Happy Journey’, for the Malayalam anthology film, ‘Kerala Cafe’ was also hugely appreciated. There is also great expectations for ‘Usthad Hotel’, for which she has written the script.

Anjali, who has also done documentaries, has a film production company called the ‘Little Films’. Short films, needless to say, are close to her heart. “Short films are  stronger and there is an audience for them. TV channels should have slots for them and theatres should screen them. If that happens, more short film-makers will emerge,” she says.

More than anything, the director loves the idea of story telling. “Telling another person a story and engaging his or her attention excites me. I write simple stories and I write quickly. But direction is my field of expression,” she says. Inspiration seems to have come from many quarters and some maestros have made a huge impact on her. Like Robert Altman. “I like his films because of its simplicity.

These are films that will last for centuries. And that’s what I aspire to make,” she adds.

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