Debutant filmmaker Rahul Riji Nair’s Ottamuri Velicham, which recently bagged four State Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress, has been picked up by Sanjay Suri’s Kahwa Entertainment, which will handle the film’s sales and distribution internationally.
The company, run jointly by Suri and director Onir (My Brother Nikhil), was launched 15 years ago with the sole intention of giving a home to small and relatively unknown independent films – some of which have dealt with sensitive and taboo topics. Ottamuri Velicham deals with the often overlooked subject of marital rape and has been earning rave reviews, with special praise reserved for the performance of its lead actress Vinitha Koshy. The film will most likely see a theatrical release in Kerala in September after its rounds in the festival circuit.
The breakthrough happened at the Goa Film Bazaar where the film had its premiere. “The response we got from the audience, including some of the curators and sales agents, was overwhelming,” said Rahul. “That’s when we became confident about the film’s saleability. And when Sanjay approached me, that changed everything. He loved the film and this was encouraging to us. ”
When asked whether he is confident about the film’s international appeal, Rahul said, “Actually, I was more nervous about the response from Kerala, and that worry had mostly to do with the fact that the film did not get accepted at IFFK (International Film Festival of Kerala). When it comes to the international market, I was told that there is not that much of a space for regional content which we saw as a real challenge. But now that Sanjay has come on board, I’m not worried anymore.”