Balaji Mohan is living a dream right now. His debut film Love Failure has struck a chord with the audience from Hyderabad to Madurai. We find out more about this 24-year-old director who has become the talk of the town
Balaji Mohan is perhaps one of the youngest directors to make a big splash in film industry. At the age of 24, he’s living a dream of becoming a filmmaker and what’s even more exciting is the taste of success right for his debut film Love Failure (Kadhalil Sodhapuvadu Yeppadi in Tamil). “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing for the past few days,” Balaji confesses. And why not? It’s not every day where a debutant director gets compliments from almost everyone for bringing alive a part of their lives on screen. “I think that’s one of the reasons for the film’s success. It’s a universal subject and people could relate themselves to the script. We didn’t change anything to suit the audience’s taste in Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu,” he says.
Born and brought up in Trichy, Balaji Mohan joined SSN College of Engineering in Chennai. During this time, his parents bought a handycam for him and he ended up making his first short film Velicham (light), which received a good response from people. “The initial idea was to complete engineering and then pursue my passion. But after Velicham, I didn’t want to wait for too long. So, I had to convince my parents to trust me since I had made up my mind to drop out of college. It was a risk, but my parents had faith in me and supported me a lot,” Balaji recalls. He joined LV Prasad Academy to learn editing and sound design, which opened up a lot of doors for him. He was one of six finalists in the Gateway to Hollywood contest, which was aired on Sony TV and then made his award-winning short film Kadhalil Sodhapuvadu Yeppadi for a TV show named Naalaya Iyakunar.
“Nirav Shah saw my short film and connected me to Shashikanth and Siddharth. The entire process of writing the script and finalising all other details took about one year,” Balaji said. So how did he manage to expand the script? “I decided to concentrate majorly on the couple and then weave small stories around them with other characters. Each one of them has a back-story and then there’s the parents’ angle and how people deal with relationships,” he reveals. Anyone who has seen the film would have noticed Balaji’s attention to detail, which makes the script all the more interesting. Was it inspired from real events? “Oh no. I didn’t adapt anyone’s life but yes, I did a lot of research and wrote the script based on what I had heard from my friends and what I have seen in my life,” he smiles. And not surprisingly he’s a big fan of Woody Allen’s films. “It feels good when people say that they found a lot of influence of Woody Allen in my film. I have learnt a lot from him.”
He’s all praises for Nirav Shah, Siddharth, Thaman and the rest ofthe team. The film was shot in 36 days, which makes you think how exactly did they manage it. “Love Failure was a simple film to shoot. A lot of planning went into it and there were no surprises on the set. I didn’t have to make any change. Nirav Shah was extremely quick while shooting the film,” he says. We ask him what’s the best advice he has got from people he had interacted with. “Madan, a film critic, once told me that my strength lies in keeping things simple and I think that’s what I tried to do in Love Failure,” he replies. So what’s next? “I am completely blank right now. I haven’t thought about what I am going to do next. For now, I think I am going to take a breather,” so saying, he signs off.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.