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Ella is a passion project for a bunch of guys who love cinema, says director Roshan Fernandes

The children’s film Ella, starring Isha Talwar and Makarand Deshpande, is now streaming on MX Player. It’s debutant director Roshan Fernandes talks about the tough journey of putting the film together

Ella is a passion project for a bunch of guys who love cinema, says director Roshan Fernandes
The poster of Ella, a children's film that is now streaming on MX Player

Last Updated: 06.51 PM, May 17, 2024


Young filmmaker Roshan Fernandes has made his debut today, when his Hindi film Ella dropped on MX Player. A Mumbaiker with Mangaluru roots, Roshan has set most of the narrative of his film in the coastal town of Mulki. “Ella is the tale of a young girl from Goa, who gets lost and finds herself in Mulki, and she has no idea where she is,” says Roshan, introducing the film to us. A business studies graduate, Roshan adds that filmmaking has been his dream for the longest time, but realizing it was not easy.

As happy as he is today about the release of Ella, getting to this point has been quite the task, he says. “Ella is a passion project for me; I wanted to make it as a children’s film. I grew up watching the likes of Abhay – The Fearless, Makdee and Anjali; this was the genre I was looking at; something that has a mystery attached to it and yet is a children’s film at its core. As much as I wanted to make a movie, I knew that I could not do it on a big scale. The best start then, would be with something sweet and humble and that is how Ella came to be,” says Roshan.


The story of the film was written a good 5-6 years ago, adds the debutant filmmaker. “I didn’t have the money to make it and crowdfunding was out of the question by the time I was ready to start shooting. I realized that if I set the film in Goa and Mumbai, I would need at least Rs 10 crore budget, which was way beyond what any of us on the team could even dream of putting together. Basil Alchalakkal, the director of the Kannada film Toby is a good friend from my college days in Mangaluru, and he, along with a few other pals who are passionate about cinema decided to get together and somehow make this movie,” Roshan tells us about the beginning of the project.

The film stars Isha Talwar and Makarand Deshpande, both of who did not charge this team much in terms of remuneration, which was helpful. “The eventual budget, was within Rs 1 crore, as we set the film in Mulki, where we had a lot of friends, who helped us with the logistics required to pull this off. In fact, instead of making the cast and crew stay in hotels, which would have eaten into our budget, we were given an old house that had been shut for a long while and was reopened for us. The guy who gave us the house became one of the producers, eventually. That, and the money that my friends and I pooled in, including from the sale of our vehicles, was what we used to make Ella,” he says.

Roshan Fernandes the debutant director of Ella
Roshan Fernandes the debutant director of Ella

Once they got everything in place, Roshan had planned two schedules in 2019 and 2020. He had shot more than half of the film in 2019 and was preparing for the next schedule when the pandemic hit. “It took us nearly two years to come back and assemble the team. Luckily, we had shot all the childhood portions of Ella earlier, so the artiste’s growth in this time did not affect the continuity of our film. Isha plays the older version of Ella and we had to shoot her portions. After the lockdown, getting funds together was also an issue, as some who had promised to pitch in, could not as their livelihoods were impacted. At one point, we almost thought of giving up, but then we persevered and decided to get back on track,” Roshan reminisces.

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