Faceless Satirical Tamil Film Wins International Honour

A short film that doesn’t show the face of any actors  has won International critical acclaim. The film “Enga Ooru Joker” or “The Native Joker” made by freedom fighter V O Chidambaram Pillai’s (VOC) great grandson Balasubramanian Shanmugakumar has already won a few international awards. The sixteen minute film deals with the idea of life and death.

Explaining the dark satirical comedy the filmmaker told tellmystory.in “The idea of every film is to show the face of the artist. I thought why not do without showing faces. He added “To deal with the experimental idea I needed a strong logic. What better logic than death that doesn’t see any face value.”

A software professional with a passion for writing and filming, Balasubramanian  learnt filming only amid the pandemic signing up for a six month programme in Chennai. 

His maiden attempt has already made a splash winning a few international awards including the Brazil New Visions International Film Festival Award.

“This proves people who speak different languages and belong to different culture and carry different  sensibilities appreciate an experimental movie. There is space for experimental films and they can be commercial success as well”, Balasubramanian believes. 

The film "Enga Ooru Joker" by VOC's great grandson doesn't show anyone's face. It has already won a few international awards.

The film was shot on a single day in two schedules. “We did good storyboarding. We had around four weeks of pre-production that helped in execution. Artistes and technicians got together and had multiple rehearsal sessions understanding the experimental nature of the film. Whatever we had on paper we were able to bring it.”

Actors were puzzled but not reluctant says Balasubramanian. “Their only doubt was how to execute the film? How do we ensure we engage the audience when we don’t show faces. Once they understood their roles and concept of the movie there was no looking back.”

The budding filmmaker now plans to release the film on OTT and to continue to tell untold stories on the platform.

Among the artistes were his school going daughter Veda Balasubramanian who performed a minor role. “I loved acting and seeing myself on big screen” Veda said. When asked if her dad forced her to act she said “yes” with a chuckle.

Sharing memories of childhood family conversations on his illustrious great grandfather VOC, Balasubramanian said “We have often regretted we never got a tour of the two ships he owned”. What would VOC feel if he looked at  present day India, Balasubramanian said “He would be proud of India’s development. At the same time he would have wanted more patriotism”.


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