Exclusive! Arun Chandu on Gaganachari: I wanted to make my directorial debut with a sci-fi film
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Exclusive! Arun Chandu on Gaganachari: I wanted to make my directorial debut with a sci-fi film

The movie, which is set in 2035, has Anarkali Marikar playing an alien

Sanjith Sidhardhan
Sep 16, 2021
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Arun Chandu

While Mollywood has been open to experimental content, movies of sci-fi genre have been few and far between – either because the audience couldn’t relate to the concept or the filmmakers took out the entertainment quotient out of these films. That’s probably where director Arun Chandu’s Gaganachari has an edge. 

The movie, which has Anarkali Marikar playing an alien and is set in the year 2035, stars Gokul Suresh, Aju Varghese, KB Ganesh Kumar and John Kaippallil. But what could make the audience connect with the film better would be how Arun, who had helmed Saajan Bakery Since 1962 earlier this year, uses film references and humour. 

“The story is about a Malayali community of the future, and uses a lot of our traits. In fact, it also pays homage to our films in the sense how people in the future still regard the Malayalam pop culture,” tells Arun to OTTplay. “We have shot the entire movie as a mockumentary like The Office and What We Do in the Shadows. It’s probably one of the first sci-fi movies shot in that style in India.”

Anarkali Marikar | Credit: Jikson Photography

Talking about getting a sci-fi Malayalam film greenlit, he says, “I have loved reading sci-fi books since I was young and in fact, wanted to do a sci-fi film as my debut project but that didn’t happen. Before I approached Ajith Vinayaka Films, I pitched Gaganachari to six producers and I clearly remember their faces after they heard it’s a sci-fi film. They were all mainstream producers and maybe they felt it was offbeat. But I was positive and hung on to it and now we have finally executed it.” 

The team completed the shoot of the movie recently. Ask him if the pandemic restrictions actually helped in coming up with the project and Arun says, “It’s a movie that was conceived during the first lockdown last year and so we factored in the restrictions. The idea was to convert our weaknesses into strength and so we shot the entire first schedule of 24 days indoors.” They had to temporarily halt the shoot due to a few COVID-19 cases within the team and the final schedule was completed on a private island.

The film also boasts of a proficient technical crew, which has Kala and Thuramukham action choreographer Pheonix Prabu and music director Prashant Pillai, who had also composed music for Arun’s Saajan Bakery and Sayanna Varthakal. “Prashantettan is full of positivity and extremely approachable. Also, in terms of music, I don’t know of any other composer who opens up such a massive space to experiment,” says the filmmaker, who has also co-written the script and dialogues of Gaganachari with Siva Sai.

On if the makers have decided on a release platform for the movie, Arun tells us, “I don’t think I have reached a profile where I can choose. Of course, we want all our movies to be watched in theatres. But if you see, when a massive film like Minnal Murali, which is expected to catapult the Malayalam industry, releases on Netflix, we don’t know if our film would release in theatres. But we will see how it goes.” Incidentally, Arun is also gearing up for a superhero film with sci-fi elements next. 

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