Gaganachari, starring Anarkali Marikar, Ganesh Kumar, Gokul Suresh and Aju Varghese, is set against the dystopian backdrop of Kerala in 2043.
Director Arun Chandu has been a sci-fi enthusiast since he was a young boy, and his only dream was to make a movie about otherworlds, aliens, alternate timelines, and space dimensions.
The director swiftly turned his attention to pursuing his love of this genre after helming Saajan Bakery Since 1962 and Sayanna Varthakal, starting with Gaganachari, starring Anarkali Marikar, K B Ganesh Kumar, Aju Varghese, and Gokul Suresh.
In an interview with OTTplay, Arun Chandu gives further details about Gaganachari and his love of the science fiction genre.
Gaganachari got underway during the pandemic lockdown. There have been no updates regarding its theatrical release as of yet. Is there a cause for this delay?
We had intended to start production following the second COVID-19 lockdown period. However, we decided to give ourselves enough time to concentrate on every aspect of the movie, particularly the music and CGI. Director Krishand came onboard as a producer recently and emphasised that this movie should be screened on a big screen.
After its first preview in Lulu PVR in Kochi with a group of comic fans, we changed our minds and decided to have a theatrical release instead of the original plan of a direct OTT release. Six months ago, Gaganachari's work was finished. The whole crew is excitedly awaiting its big-screen debut.
Most Malayalis are unfamiliar with the theme that Gaganachari is dealing with. Have there ever been moments when you doubted it?
It is difficult to stay undoubtful, especially in this line of work; I have questioned myself numerous times. But I also frequently share my ideas with my friends, who are sci-fi and pop culture enthusiasts, in my social circle. We enjoy having discussions about it. In my films, I like to use unconventional ideas. I am working on a script that draws inspiration from the animated science fiction sitcom Rick & Morty because I love that show.
How did you decide on the Gaganachari cast?
The majority of them, particularly Aju Varghese and Gokul Suresh, I knew. I talk to Aju about all my wild ideas. Gokul is a good movie buff who values the artistic vision of emerging directors. He is a devoted fan of pop culture and anime and does not require further explanations. While at an event, I spent an hour telling Ganesh Sir the story, and he was immediately impressed with the plot.
Ganesh sir is a young man at heart because of his passion for anime figures and vehicle toys, despite the fact that many may think of him as a serious politician. Anarkali's Instagram gave me the impression that she might be interested in this kind of project. She readily agreed to the movie, proving that I was correct.
A lot of CGI effects were needed for this film. How difficult was it to incorporate the appropriate quantity in a way that was both aesthetically pleasing and convincing?
I am a graphic designer and professional photographer, so I am very particular about getting my exact viewpoint on screen. In Gaganachari, I employed four to five aspect ratios, which are uncommon in movies. It is a distinct cinematic experience as a result.
Fans of this genre will undoubtedly find it amusing. I have displayed allusions from the science fiction films that I have seen. This film's cinematographer has also done a fantastic job. Being a mockumentary, the story is told as though the cast is being interviewed by the crew. To keep the movie from becoming monotonous and boring for the audience, I have added improvisation to every part of it at different times. Additionally, I have included just the right number of dramatic elements to keep our audience interested.
What are the potential benefits of releasing the movie on a digital platform following its theatrical run?
I think that after Gaganachari's theatrical run, releasing it on an OTT platform will enable me to reach a larger audience. Even though it has regional elements that will appeal to our audience, I have no doubt that fans of this genre everywhere will be impressed as well.
In this film, which is set in 2043, I am showing a submerged Kerala similar to the 2018 floods in our state. This movie has a lot of realistic and humorous aspects that will appeal to a wide audience. Anyone can relate to the spontaneous humour employed in it, regardless of their geographic location or cultural background.
What are your upcoming projects?
Right now, I am working on my dream project, Maniyan Chittapan, which narrates the tale of a gifted scientist who is also an alcoholic. It resembles a movie where Manu Uncle and Dr Strange meet. I am excited about it.