Arun Kuppuswamy's silent film Monday surveys moments of beauty, rebellion, sadness in corporate landscape
Arun Kuppuswamy’s Monday won the ‘Special Jury Award (Non-Feature film)’ at the National Awards this year. The jury citation read, 'A simple and surreal representation of the mechanical and the mundane'.
Technological pursuits and their fallout: this is the theme Arun Kuppuswamy’s short film, Monday, explores. Through its central character, a daily wage worker, the film captures the lives of those on the periphery of the rising corporate culture in India.
Monday, which is also Kuppuswamy’s diploma film for FTII, won the ‘Special Jury Award (Non-Feature film)’ at the National Awards this year. The jury citation read, "A simple and surreal representation of the mechanical and the mundane".
Following are excerpts from our conversation with Arun Kuppuswamy:
What inspired you to make this film? What are the major themes that you're exploring?
We thought it would be interesting to look at the start-up scene in India... that's how it began. We were trying to find the coolest inventions that might be happening (sic). Once we got on the field, we became more interested in the people, the whiz kids, their corporate financiers and the daily wage workers who hang at the edge of this ecosystem. The films surveys an everyday existence in such a landscape, its small moments of beauty, rebellion and sadness.
It's majorly a silent film, except for a few dialogues in Japanese. Is there any particular reason for that?
Two reasons. One it forces you to rely on composition and movement to tell the story. Second, even though it has no dialogues or music, we still have to build an entire soundscape for the film which again forces one to pay attention to the patterns and rhythms in everyday activity. It's a great training for budding film makers.
What was the filming process like? How long did the entire project take?
It took about six months. I have made other short films before, so I have sort of been evolving a process that works for me the best. The first step is to just spend hours and hours walking around, observing and interacting with the places and the people you want to shoot. It's the first thing they teach you at the Institute (FTII). The rest of the six-year training is just to get better at it.