The 14-minute short film directed by Remya Raj features Dileesh Pothan and Chethan Jayalal, with most of the story happening in a truck.

Malayalam short film Midnight Run is about two men a truck and the power of fearDileesh Pothan in 'Midnight Run'
Flix Film Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 17:26

In June this year, Remya Raj watched the Nila theatre in Thiruvananthapuram becoming packed, all the way to the gigantic brown door. It’s doubtful she found a space to stand within the crowded theatre that was screening a 14-minute film called Midnight Run. Her film.

She was then a tense first-timer, something like ecstasy filling her as she watched the mad rush. By December, her film is a few festivals old, last shown in the non-feature film section of Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India.

“It is now selected for a competition in a festival in China,” she says. The film features actor-director Dileesh Pothan and young Chethan Jayalal. It’s the two of them and a truck mostly. Dileesh plays a rough truck driver, teasing the young lad he has given a lift to, looking dangerous as he tries to touch him and sprays alcohol on the boy. We know the boy has something in the bag he has guardedly taken from his workplace. In the rest of the film, we see how he uses that to change the power equation.

“I heard about the story from Sajan R Sarada. It was written by BT Anil Kumar, who wrote Prithviraj’s Kaaliyan. What interested me was the transition of fear, and most of the story happening within a truck,” Remya says.

Remya Raj

The truck is a sight, with its many coloured lights and little props and non-stop music. It’s like a festival inside, till the man in charge changes from the quiet driver who asked the boy in, into a loud and scary being. Dileesh with his lecherous looks and drunken behaviour plays the part expectedly convincingly. “Dileesh is one person who can play the nice guy and the villain, and make viewers wonder what to expect of him. I thought of him when I wrote the screenplay. He was then busy with the post production of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. But he kept aside three nights for our shooting,” Remya says.

She had no doubts about Chethan playing the boy. He was on her mind even as she heard the story. “It was important who played it, it had to be someone who could play two extremes within a few minutes,” she says.

Before this Remya was an assistant and associate director, first to Sibi Malayil and later to Sujith Vaassudev. “Ever since I finished my degree, I had this dream to make films. So I studied visual communication for my Masters, worked as a producer in India Vision channel, started an advertising production house and did a few ads till I could finally move on to cinema,” she explains.

Remya had been planning a feature film for some time, but since it kept getting delayed, she first made her short film, so she’d “have something to show a producer”. She is now finishing a screenplay for a feature film, which would be a love story.

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