Exclusive: Award was never on my mind while making ‘B 32 Muthal 44 Vare’, says Shruthi Sharanyam

The Malayalam director lauded the Kerala government for arranging funds to produce films on women's empowerment.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published Jul 27, 2023 | 2:30 PMUpdatedAug 09, 2023 | 3:24 PM

Shruthi Sharanyam

Shruthi Sharanyam, the director of B 32 Muthal 44 Vare (Bust 32 to 44), has all the reasons to smile since her debut feature film bagged the best director award (female) in the Women/Transgender category in the 53rd Kerala State Film Awards.

In an exclusive interview with South First, the young filmmaker shares her thoughts on the awards, the controversy regarding her awards, her favourite filmmakers, and her stand on the Manipur issue.

Should reach a wider audience

The director, who is popular for her music videos Charulatha and Chirutha, says neither she nor her team expected awards while making the movie. “But I am thankful and glad that the film got recognised.”

Shruthi Sharanyam bagged award for best female director

Shruthi Sharanyam bagged the award for best female director. (Supplied)

Sharing her thoughts about the reach, Shruthi said she believes that her movie is more of an OTT product. “As its syntax is apt for OTT and if it gets premiered on a popular platform, my film will have a wider reach.”

While the Kerala government announced that it would soon launch an OTT platform, the filmmaker said she isn’t sure about how many subscribers it would gain. However, she lauded the government for arranging funds to produce films on women’s empowerment.

“It’s a big movement. But the processing of funds at the employee level, without any delay, is something that has to be addressed soon,” she opined.

Related: ‘B 32 Muthal 44 Vare’ plot is relevant at all times: Shruthi Sharanyam

‘All characters are close to my heart’

B 32 Muthal 44 Vare is the story of six women

‘B 32 Muthal 44 Vare’ is the story of six women. (Supplied)

When asked if her expertise in painting helped her carve the characters in B 32 Muthal 44 Vare, Shruthi Sharanyam clarified that she is not an artist per se.

“I started painting only recently to surmount the depression/vacuum I am facing. Art definitely helps us carve the characters or design the sets. But I haven’t done storyboard sketches.”

She said all characters are close to her heart. “The emancipation or journey of some characters like Jaya itself is a story. Her story can be made into a separate movie. Anarkali’s transwoman character has less arc but it speaks for itself,” Shruthi explained.

The director said she had to deal with the male ego while working in her earlier works. “But here (B 32 Muthal 44 Vare), cinematographer Sudeep Elamon took my commands and it was a good experience.”

Related: ‘B 32 Muthal 44 Vare’ review: A bold film that takes on gender politics

‘Watching films is an exercise’

Shruthi Sharanyam and Remya Nambeeshan during the shoot

Shruthi Sharanyam and Remya Nambeeshan during the shoot. (Supplied)

Shruthi has been inspired by many foreign filmmakers. Her favourite ones include both old-timers and new directors.

Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Michael Angelo Antonino, Godard, Ari Aster, Robert Eggers, and Stanley Kubrick are some of the directors whom she admires.

The list also includes Sofia Coppola, Coen Brothers, Christopher Nolan, Asghar Farhadi, Jaffer Nanami, Pedro Almodovar, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Thomas Winterburg.

Shruthi Sharanyam says she watches films as an exercise. “I watch films of different genres, including classics. I watched Romancham (2023) recently and liked it very much.”

Related: 53rd Kerala State Film Awards: Here’s why the jury faced criticism

On controversy about awards

B 32 Muthal 44 Vare speaks about gender politics

‘B 32 Muthal 44 Vare’ speaks about gender politics. (Supplied)

When asked about transwoman Riya Isha’s criticism of the award given to her, the director replied, “I believe I don’t have the right to comment. If she felt sad about it, then it’s her personal feeling. I respect that.”

Shruti also pointed out that this was not the first time an award was given in the women/transgender category.

“Even before, there were instances where women and transgender persons competed with each other and women won the award. This is making news only this year. The jury decides the winners and I respect its decision,” she added.

Also Read: ‘Lama Lama’ is our own version of ‘Mappila Ramayanam’: Vishnu Sivasankar

On Manipur issue

Shruthi Sharanyam recently condemned the atrocities women are facing in Manipur as she felt that it was the need of the hour.

“While the Kerala government was announcing an award for me, the women in Manipur are facing atrocities. I felt that I needed to speak. Every time there’s violence or a protest, the downtrodden women become the soft targets. They get intimidated and are attacked. Unfortunately, this is how the perpetrators satisfy their ego and this should not be normalised by society,” she asserted, , before signing off.