Thursday, February 22, 2007

The "speech" that I couldn't deliver

I had prepared this speech during that sleepless night before the special screening. But with all those technical glitches, I got really worked up and never got around to say the things I wanted to say.

Thanks to my laptop, I still got that speech-copy!

So here goes:

Well, thank you everybody for making it here so early in the morning. I'm a morning person and I absolutely hate traffic. So I really appreciate that you've all come.

You probably have no idea of how nervous I am right now. I mean, this is one of those days I wish I were on that side of the stage.

I would've come late and missed this whole talk thing and given my track record of all the movies I've ripped apart... may God bless all those filmmakers... I hope today is not the day for poetic justice.

Well, today is going to be an acid test for the film. Because what you say matters, what you say is going to make people watch or not watch this movie.

Before I leave you to watch the film, I just wanted to go back to the day it all started and thank a few people who're as guilty and responsible as me in producing this film. To begin with, Murugan Subramanian, my best friend and co-writer.

I still remember the day we sat and discussed how different we were as friends and yet we were the best of friends. We all wanted different things from life and had a different approach to go and get it.

We then realised that it wasn’t just our story. It was everybody’s story and everybody’s problem: What do we want to do from the rest of our lives? What is the price we are willing to pay? To put it in two four letter words. What next? I’m sure we all ask that question to ourselves every once in a while.

At the end of that talk, all he said was: Alright, we’re going to write this movie. And you’re going to make this into a movie because it’s a lot of work. If you don’t, you are so dead. I’ll strip you to your underwear and chase you all along Marina.

Now that’s a sight you don’t want to see. Aren’t you glad I didn’t give up? It’s taken 7 years for this day to arrive but yeah, here it is.

Not just Murugan, all my other buddies from different parts of the world chipped in to make my dream come true. Raghu, Arvind, Sukumar, Nadeem, Ravicharan, China, Ghirijah... I haven't slept so I know you ll forgive me if I've left you out.

I would also like to thank the man who gave me the faith. My original producer Sashi Chimala, who I ironically met at the special show of Mission Impossible 2. This has been our little mission impossible. We shot the movie once with his money. And then trashed it completely for assorted reasons including non availability of the stars.

It would’ve been criminal to take money from him again. So we shot it the second time around. With the only thing you really need to make a movie. Conviction.

At this point, I need to thank the guys who taught me what conviction was all about, the guys who inspired me to go ahead and make my film no matter what.

Vijay Prabakaran, my editor, is a filmmaker himself. He’s currently in the hospital fighting leptospirosis. Lucky for him, or I would’ve inflicted him with another viewing of That Four Letter Word right now.

Yeah, I’ve made him see the film for over a 1000 times. He had to edit it. He didn’t have a choice.

Now, Vijay made a film with no money at all, along with his college buddy, Pradeep Kalipurayath. It was called ‘I just don’t get it’. They studied together and were meeting up after a long time and they decided they were gonna make a movie. Three months later, they had a movie. Shot with no money at all. Okay, I’m exaggerating. They spent about 20,000 rupees.

Vijay and Pradeep made that movie that never saw the light of day because of a few technical glitches. That gave us the courage. If these guys can do something within three months after a chance meeting over a cuppa tea.

Surely, with the home-work we had done on the script, we could do it too. We just had to make people believe in the script. And thankfully for us, they did. So thank you Captain, thank you Pradeep for the inspiration.

Actually, Pradeep was my first assistant director when I started pre-production in 2000. He then went on to do a lot of things including the no-budget film called “I just don’t get it” before he came back to the film as the director of photography.

I would like to thank Abhishek Shah, founding partner of Be Positive 24, my brother and the first AD of the first film we made for all the years he has shared my dream.

I would like to thank my family that’s stood rock solid behind me.

They aren’t here now because I told them we’re coming back to see it, paying for our own tickets.

My Grand-dad died the day before we were supposed to shoot this version of the movie.

My Mom left me her card and said Go ahead, scratch it, make your movie. Thank you Mom, thank you Dad. Because, if not for that, we wouldn’t have actually got started on the film.

I would like to thank my entire team. They are like family too.

Cary and Usha have been in this film since 2001. So has my production manager Archana, who hasn’t come today because she’s just had a cute little baby.

Cary, our official carrier, has driven us from Madras to Bangalore to Mangalore to Manipal all these years for location hunts. He’s the official carrier because he also carried tripods, played everything from spotboy to playboy and also contributed the biggest set in the film: his car. Thank you Car-y!

Bad joke. I know.

Thank you Ush. She was leaving for a long holiday to the United States on April 13, 2005.

Now, we had planned to shoot between March 19 to April 5 and then do a quick edit of her scenes so that she could dub and leave. It turned out that we weren’t able to shoot before March 26. To meet the tight deadlines, we worked 20 hours every day. Sometimes 22. But we wound up shoot on April 5 as we planned. Thank you Ush. For keeping your promise and dubbing before you left.

There is a story behind every person who’s been in this film but we don’t have the time nor do I want to hype this up.

We ll do more of that after the movie.

For now, I’ll just shut up and let you watch the film.

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