Aussie-Tamil film for Oslo fest

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PRIYADARSHINI CHIDAMBARANATHAN Eelan Elanko’s Iniyavale Kaathirupen

Iniyavale Kaathirupen, a Tamil film made in Australia has been selected as part of the 4th Norway Tamil Film Festival to be held across Oslo, Berlin and London. Made by Eelan Elanko, a Sydney based film-maker, the film is among 15 selected for the awards to be held between April 24-28.

Iniyavale Kaathirupen, which translates to Sweetheart I will wait for you, is also the first Tamil film to be made entirely in Australia (Love and Longing in a Foreign Land, Indian Link, Oct (2) 2012). The story revolves around the cultural challenges faced by two Australian Tamil families after migrating to a new country. What seems at first like a simple love story between Thana (played by Dinesh Sivarajah) and Pavi (played by Niloja Loganathan), acquires a twist as the movie progresses and viewers realize that both characters have had a stormy past.

The movie which took over three years to make, played to full houses in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

This has definitely been a labour of love for Elanko who is excited by the prospect of his movie being part of a prestigious international film festival for Tamil films. The festival line-up features 12 films from the Tamil film industry in India, and one each from Canada, Sri Lanka and Australia.

He says that it is an honour for his film to feature alongside 12 films that have been box office hits in India. “Most of the Tamil films featured in the list are not big budget films,” he explained. “They have not been chosen based on the actors or on the budget and special effects, but only on the basis of content”.

He went on to say that it was unexpected and a very pleasant surprise that his ‘veetu samayal’ (home-made food) should be selected for such an honour.

“There are two metrics on which films can be judged – artistic merit and technical effects. Technical effects are mostly dependent on the size of the budget, but the artistic merit of a film is entirely dependent on the people working in it. And we are happy that this has shown through in our film,” he added.

Honours seem to be piling up for Elanko, especially after Julie Owens, MP for Parramatta, mentioned the movie in her address to the Australian Parliament on February 7. Ms Owens congratulated Elanko on his achievement and stated that “The film has been selected to be screened in the Tamil Film Festival in Norway in April 2013 – a great achievement by Eelan.”

He is more excited by this event than the awards. “I feel like I have won an Oscar. This is a greater honour than any award,” he said enthusiastically. But having tasted success, Elanko now feels the weight of responsibility and the urge to make better films.

“I want to make films that are not only about Sri Lankans and Indians, but Australians as a whole,” he claimed. He is currently making two different short films in Tamil and English, following which he plans to go to India to make a film based on his childhood there.

Elanko feels his success is very significant, given his background as a refugee.

“I left my motherland holding nothing but my life in my hands,” he said emotionally. Growing up in India as a young boy, he later moved to New Zealand and then Australia, to study and work.

And having travelled a long way from those beginnings, we wish Elanko success with his future projects.

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