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4th Gen AVM scions into film production

N. Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on December 13, 2013

M. Saravanan, AVM Productions with L-R: Aruna Guhan and Aparna Guhan, Partner, AVM Productions.
Photo : N. RamakrishnanM. Saravanan, AVM Productions with Aruna Guhan and Aparna Guhan, Partners. — Photo: N. Ramakrishnan   -  Business Line

They are quite excited about their first production venture hitting the screens soon. It will be the first time when their names will find title credit along with their illustrious grandfather and father.

Meet the twins Aruna and Aparna Guhan, 25, granddaughters of film industry veteran M. Saravanan of AVM Productions, one of South India’s oldest film production companies that has made movies in the south Indian languages, and Hindi and Bengali.

The sisters have completed their first production – a 55-minute Tamil film titled Idhuvum Kadanthu Pogum (Even This Will Pass) – and are waiting to market it on television and on the Net.

Sitting in Saravanan’s office inside AVM Studios in the hub of Chennai’s film industry, with the walls framed with film memorabilia and trophies, Aruna and Aparna say they spent close to six months selecting the script for their first film. “It is a story about finding hope,” is all that Aruna will reveal. Aparna adds, “It is a subject young people can relate to. It’s in the kind of situation where you feel you have lost something or you feel low. It gives you a message. It teaches you to move on in life.”

Saravanan, who has been in the film industry for more than five decades, nods in approval, when he says “it is a real youth problem. It has been very well presented.”

On net, A First for AVM

For AVM, which has been producing films since just before Independence and has so far done more than 170 films in different languages, this will be the first one that will be released on the Net.

According to Aruna, a Fine Arts graduate who studied design in Birmingham and London, they picked the story because it was crisp and had a clear message. The directors – the film has been directed by Srihari Prabaharan and Anil Krishnan – told them the film was meant to last between 45 minutes and an hour. Anything longer, it will become a drag. “This is like perfect, crisp,” she adds.

Aparna chips in and says, “if you see it, you will realise that. If you drag it a little more, if you try to make it two-and-a-half hours or three hours, you will lose the essence of the story.”

Aruna adds that that for six months they listened to stories. “We wanted the right one because it is our first venture. We wanted to do something where we were completely satisfied with the script. Srihari had done a 10-minute film and I had seen that on YouTube, on the basis of which we called him and he narrated the script to us. We really liked it.”

How much did it cost them to produce the film? “Because we were doing it for the first time, we wanted something smaller. We were to shoot for five days and it ended up going for 12 days. When we showed it to my dad and granddad, they liked it,” says Aparna, a commerce graduate who studied Business in London. Having produced the film, they decided to go the whole hog, as they would have for a full-length movie, and did colour correction, EFX and Qube. “We have done the things that we do for a full-length movie,” she says and adds that they haven’t worked out the costs yet.

Saravanan adds that it will roughly cost about Rs 10 lakh. “They have done a real good job. They have picked up a good subject.”

According to Aparna, both her father and grandfather encouraged them to go ahead with the film. “They gave us the freedom and trusted us to make the correct decision. The fact that they had so much faith in us, we had a bigger responsibility because we needed to make them proud,” she says.

She admits that both she and her sister were a little nervous on the day they screened the film for their father and grandfather.

Is a full-length movie the next step for them? Aparna says they will think about it after they have finished marketing their first film. Within two weeks they will have a clear picture on when it will be released.

Both add that they started working at the studio the day after they finished their 12th examinations. “We worked part-time throughout our undergrad,” says Aparna. The sisters say they have a lot to learn from their father and grandfather and they consult them on all major decisions. Saravanan, who turned 74 about a week back, says the sisters take care of the day-to-day running of the studio. “They come and consult us,” he adds, as he sits back and lets his granddaughters do the talking.

ramakrishnan.n@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 12, 2013

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