By AILEEN CARNEIRO
Each year, most of the cast of characters at the International Film Festival of India revolves and refreshes anew, but The Peacock remembers.
From a previous edition, we have fond memories of the dynamic young Sri Lankan filmmaker couple, Ilango Ramanathan (he’s a director) and Hiranya Perera (she produces). This year, we’re especially delighted to reconnect because they brought with them not just the pitch for their new feature A Bend in the Coffin, but also the cherubic 9-month-old Analie, who has quickly become the all-time darling of NFDC Film Bazaar.
“Film and photography connected us,” they say, finishing each other’s sentences. Perera and Ramanathan first met when he was one of the top TV commercial directors in Sri Lanka, and she was the youngest female producer of TV commercials, as well as a skilled photographer. Now the die hard media family includes Analie, who travels with her parents, waits patiently through long meetings and pitching sessions, visits every shooting location, and has generally taken to the filmmaking world rather professionally.
Ramanathan says, “many people think that having a baby will put a pause on your career. But after Analie was born, I discovered a lot of capabilities that I didn’t know that I had within me. She is very much a part of our journey. Her partner says, “in South Asia especially, many believe that once a woman has had a baby, she should be totally immersed only in motherhood and can’t think outside of that box. What Hiranya is doing is brave. I’m very proud of both my girls.”
Perera adds, “It’s very tough as a woman producer in Sri Lanka, and I imagine, also in India. And with a child, it’s said to be even tougher. Ilango is very supportive. Singlehandedly, I would not have been able to do this.” Both parents ensure they share their responsibilities, taking turns to attend to the baby during meetings and shoots, and “when she’s in good mood, all three of us can be present at meetings.”
As a family, they are living a dream they had together. Ramanathan says, “I always wanted to travel with my baby and wife, without missing out on all the festivals and film bazaars. We’re doing just that.”