Movies for the majority is entertainment, and then there are some who look at it for its making, the aesthetics, the technicalities and a whole lot of other factors which appeal to them in a graded value graph. If I see a movie because I was impressed by the director’s previous work, I go with both an expectation and a devil’s eye to compare. And I have had surprises both good and bad. When I decided to watch Shreelancer, I did so because I know the passion of some the people behind it as I have seen one of their previous work. The movie ‘Hola Venky’ that was directed by Sandeep Mohan. Sandeep Mohan’s Shreelancer released in the Bay area today and I got to catch the 5:45PM show at Cinegrand in Fremont.
Even then I put on the trailer before I decided to watch. Sometime I am weary of some indie indian movies as they so much cliche for an IT bred population. ‘Hola Venky’ in my opinion was different but not completely out of it though. Anyway seeing the trailer I figured Shreelancer was a person who freelances on his artistic wordery to make a living. Something which I felt I could personally connect to. And there I was with a ticket.
When the movie started and 10 minutes into it I was thinking “Did I expect a bit more on this attempt of the Venky director”. The start did take me to my recent visit to Bangalore and its Cafe culture, but I was worried it would dive in into a some IT gang misadventures. The next 5 minutes changed it all, especially as the lead guy’s dad comes into the screen. He naturally flowed into the screen like he was not acting but the movie makers just barged into his life with a camera and he let them in with a frown.
The dad does not have a lot of screen time but he fills the center of the movie in my opinion. From there on the movie takes off into terrains where you would not anticipate any of the twists to come. When you can make a viewer imagine a flow and then disrupt it, as a movie maker you have started doing your job.
I usually don’t like to give any plot of the movie but more of my experience of it. Yet I will add that the movie is about a freelancing copywriter who is lost between his passion that is manifesting as ‘bills to pay’ exercise and the uncharming choice of a day job . How life takes a big town less travelled lad to a nature’s nest to live with a mix of struggle and realization with a bit of bitter escapirences (experiences of escapes) is the way it goes. In the process he decides to step out of his passion only to know life is not about anything else but savoring it before the ultimate eventuality hits on you or your loved ones.
A movie that ends with asking you to make some memories before the time is up. Don’t feel it is your typical Bollywood flick, because it is not, I would not have written this if it was. I believe making an indie movie like a Khan flick is imitation. Indie movies are what shape movie making and shapes people’s taste. It has a price but it also has the spice.
Shreelancer has the big meaningful existence of indie film captured on a small canvas tuned to a large screen from the start to end. It has the rawness and a self awareness where people like me feel it is my film, it also calls out to aspiring film makers to take your camera and walk into the crowd and disappear for as long as it takes to let your captures appear on the screen.
The talented Sandeep Mohan has stepped up his own game a few notches since his Hola Venky and I am very happy to see that. The lead role of Shreepad played by Arjun Radhakrishnan and his dad Naik played by Salmin Sheriff. Thanks to Giju John for taking the effort to produce it.
A beautifully composed review! Thanks Vinod.