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Dropping out college to pursue one’s passion may not turn out to be fruitful for most people. For Arun Karthick, 26, it did. The government of Netherlands has provided financial assistance of Rs 40 lakhs (50,000 Euro) to the Tamil film that he is directing at present. This will be the first movie made under Indo-Dutch collaboration.

Arun Karthick had a strong passion for the film industry, and this made him give up his B Tech (Media Technology) studies in the middle and enter the world of films.

His ‘Nazir’ is based on writer Dilip Kumar’s short story ‘Oru Gumasthavin Kathai’ (‘The Story of a Clerk’) that was written with Coimbatore as the background. The story was published in 2002 in the magazine ‘DheemThariKida’ run by journalist Gnani. This also appeared in Dilip Kumar’s book ‘Ramavum Umavum’ published by ‘Crea-A’. Arun Karthick is only directing that important short story now, as the film ‘Nazir’.

Arun Karthick has already won the Scripting and Project Development Grant for the best script in the International Film Festival, Rotterdam and has got a prize of Rs 8 lakh (10,000 Euro) for that. Following that, he has now got this Rs 40 lakh funds for making this film under the Netherlands Film Fund and Hubert Bals Fund Co-production Scheme. It is worth mentioning that this will be the first Tamil film funded under this scheme.

“I am staying in Kovai Thadagam. My father is a businessman and mother, school teacher. I did my schooling in the Kikkani school in R S Puram and then joined in B Tech (Media Technology) in Karunya university. Even when I was studying plus 2, I got the opportunity to see internationally acclaimed films thanks to the help of the Coimbatore based film society ‘Konangal’. At that time, I saw ‘Eight and a Half’, a film by Federico Fellini. I was fascinated by it though I didn’t understand it fully. It was only then that I started seeing good films, and kept on seeing world-renowned movies daily. I used to read a lot about films, and started making short films even when I was in college. I also worked as cameraman in the documentary on the life of director Adoor Gopalakrishnan. I got the introduction of some highly rated film technicians in film festivals. This facilitated in my understanding of films. Then, I started directing films” Arun shared his personal details.

“Sivapuranam was Arun Karthick’s first film. There were no songs or dialogues in it and the film had only scenes following one after the other. This was screened in the IFFR, the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2016 under the ‘Bright Future Category’. The NFDC provided a financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh for this under the ‘Film Bazaar’ scheme. This movie was made in a budget of about Rs 15 lakh and was produced by Suresh Kumar on behalf of S K Cinemas of Coimbatore. The film could not however become popular or commercially successful, and so could not reach a good number of movie fans. But it did come in for a lot of praise in film festivals” says Arun Karthick.

“After this, I read the short story ‘Oru Gumasthavin Kathai’ written by Dilip Kumar, which was based on the tragic incidents that rocked Coimbatore 20 years ago. In the riots that took place there in 2016, a large number of shops in Thudiayalur including the coffee-cum- sugarcane juice shop that I was running there were attacked and damaged. This is the reason I got the idea of making a film on that subject,” he adds.

“I met the author Dilip Kumar in Chennai and obtained his permission for filming his story. When I got his go-ahead, I had no idea as to when I was going to make the film and how I was going to manage the funds for its production. But still, when I asked, he readily agreed. The character Mehboob Khan in his story became Nazir in my film. As I wanted to shoot the films in places where the incidents actually happened, I took a small house on rent in the Town Hall area and am staying there for the past 2 years, so that I can get to know about the habits and lifestyles of the people living there. It is only from there that I prepared the film’s screenplay and the shooting is beginning in October. Kumaran Valavan, a research scholar in Physics from France, who is presently staying in Puducherry and organizing stage plays there, is playing the role of Nazir. Many of the people acting in this movie are not professional film actors.

The firm ‘Rinkel Film’ of Netherlands has provided financial assistance of Rs 40 lakh for making this film. Mathivanan of the company ‘Stray Factory’ and Samir Sarkar of Puducherry have also invested Rs 70 lakh for this film production. Somi Anand Sahi is the cameraman. As per a rule under the Netherlands Financial Scheme, half the amount should be spent only in that country. So we propose to carry out the post production work in capital Amsterdam. I am making arrangements for starting the film shooting in October. I am sure this will turn out to be a good movie, different from the run-of-the-mill ones. This needs to be sufficiently publicized and made popular, and I do hope that the Netherlands production firm will help to take it to global audience”, says Arun Karthick.

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