|Directed by||Seby Varghese|
|Produced by||Seby Varghese|
|Written by||Seby Varghese|
Unfateful is a 2020 English-Kannada Indian independent Film written, directed and produced by Seby Varghese. Starring all new comers Janavi Nagarajan, Aakash Mohanty, Sarat Prakash, Bharat N Simha, Darshan Shankar, Sanjith Ballal (AKA Sanaran) and Seby Varghese, the film was shot on IPhone 7 Plus on a minimalist approach. The film marks the debut of Seby Varghese as writer-director. The micro budget road film was shot frugally, following Guerrilla filmmaking across three states of South India - Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The film was partially funded through a Crowdfunding campaign run on Wishberry to raise finishing funds for the film. The film was selected at the XVIII Cine Pobre Film Festival.
The film is a radical change from the contemporary model of film making followed in India. The team that was put together to make the film was a completely novice young cast and crew (except for the music director Mariano Saulino) who had no experience in feature film making till date. As Seby likes to put it " Experiment - Entertainment - Experience. A bunch of radicals who came together just for the sake of passion and commitment towards films. Unsure of their own talents and the limits, the film was very challenging. What came out of the process was something infinitely unique in an otherwise bureaucratic industry."
Set in an unknown location on the road of South India, Four strangers, Punya, Aditya, Martin and Mithun carpool on a journey to Gokarna. On the course of the journey the four encounter run-away goons Krishnna, Koti and Raju and the twisted tale kicks off as the four strangers find their moral compass put to its ultimate test.
Seby Varghese wrote the story of Unfateful while working as an Audit Senior with Grant Thornton SSC, Bangalore. The inspiration for a road film came from a journey with friends. The first draft of the screenplay was completed by January 2017. Being a self taught film maker and having no contacts in the film fraternity, the decision was made to self-fund the film instead of adopting the traditional film financing model. Shelly.J.Morais whom Seby had met during his internship at Nirvana Films, Bangalore came on board as one of the Executive Producers of the film. The first draft of the screenplay was pitched to another mutual friend Karthick Raj, who agreed to work on the film. A test shoot was conducted in the outskirts of Bangalore using a D.S.L.R. However, the shoot failed to provide the required results. Another Test shoot was conducted using a Canon 5D Mark III. But that too was a failure, considering the micro budget aspect of the film. The team then worked on the possibilities of making the film using an IPhone 7 Plus and after initial discussions, the test shoot was conducted around Magadi, Karnataka by the end of January 2017. The test shoot was a success. It was decided that the team would utilize the iPhone as the primary production camera. The next two months were spent in research whereby it was decided to use anamorphic adapters from Moondog labs Inc. to achieve the cinematic look appropriate for the film. By the end of March 2017, Seby took a sabbatical of nine months and started assembling the production team. On April 8, 2017, a casting call was placed looking for actors. Many rejected the project considering its DIY frugal nature and lack of monetary compensation. Finally, Sarat Prakash, Aakash Mohanty, Janavi Nagarajan, Bharat N Simha, Darshan Shankar were cast for the film. An upcoming Kannada rapper Sanjith Ballal (AKA Sanaran) was later cast for an important role in the film. Considering the Guerrilla Filming nature of the film, a lot of planning went into deciding the kind of roads that the film would be shot. An extensive location scouting was carried out travelling through remote landscapes of South India. Meanwhile 5 more drafts of the screenplay was made as the discussions progressed. The actors and the direction team were brought to Bangalore and the team started staying in the 2 BHK apartment where Seby and wife Jophina were staying. A technical team under Karthick, made two DIY rigs from scratch for the film that could be remotely controlled. It was decided that the production shall begin by the end of July. As weeks passed by, the casting was completed except for the role of Aditya. Two weeks of rigorous table reading prepared the actors for their roles. With the production date approaching, there were no takers for the role of Aditya. With the schedule dates approaching, Seby decided to play the part himself. With a team of 15 members, the team went to production on August 1, 2017
The first day of production was an utter failure. The novice team was not able to complete half the scene. All the storyboarding, shot divisions, rehearsals had not prepared the team to face the realities of actual shoot on location. Nobody was prepared for Guerrilla style film shoot. The first day was filled with an intense amount of disappointment. Since then it was decided to follow a scriptless approach to make the film and stay on schedule. What followed was an intense and tiring film shoot where the team would travel to the location, based on the time of the day and availability of light, a scene apt for the location would be decided. As the camera team would set up the rehearsals and make up would be done on the actors in the vehicles and the scene would be shot without wasting any time. This run-shoot-run approach proved beneficial. However, the narrative style of the film was changing with every single shot. The film was being discovered with each successive shot. The first schedule ended on August 15, 2017, with only 60 percent of the filming complete. After the failure of the first schedule there was widespread disappointment in the team. By October 2017, the WIP cut was made on Adobe Premiere Pro. Based on the edit two more schedules were planned to finish the film. Second schedule started in November 2017 and was completed successfully in a week's time.
With the funds shrinking and the sabbatical ending, the team went to Film Bazaar, Goa to look for any willing co-producers only to be disappointed by the lack of interest of traditional producers. However, the team met a kickstarter inspired Indian crowdfunding platform Wishberry and decided to opt for crowdfunding to find finishing funds for the film. Seby joined back work after sabbatical and then later took another Leave of 2 months. In the meantime the crowd funding campaign was started. With mounting pressure to finish the film, Seby quit his job in October 2018. The team raised enough funds to finish production and enter post production. By the beginning of January 2019, Another schedule was carried out successfully completing the principal photography on the film. However on their way back, the Mitsubishi Lancer which was one of the main props in the film met with a fatal accident. Luckily everybody survived with minor injuries. This again put a pause on the film's progress.
Just like the production stage, Post-Production was marred with problems with two editors, music director and other team members quitting the film. Cyril Joseph, a first time editor who had just quit his IT job in pursuit of his passion for films agreed to edit the film. The team went for a patchwork shoot with Seby, Cyril and Karthick and soon after the final edit was rendered. Dubbing was carried out at Black Pandi's S dad studio, Chennai and DI work was done at Colorspace, Chennai. Seby had met independent music director Mariano Saulino via facebook while scouting for a music composer for the film. The Argentinian music composer agreed to compose music for the film. Finally, the film was completed in March 2020.