Directed by debutants Sudeep Elamon and Goutham Soorya, 'Sleeplessly Yours' explores the relationship of a young couple Jessy (Sudev Nair) and Maanu (Janaki Rajendran) who indulge in an experiment of sleep deprivation and how this affects their life. This film was made by a group of friends who wanted to work on an offbeat theme which was never done earlier. This unique film was well accepted at the recently held International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).
The confident and passionate directors talk to Onmanorama about a scene in the film which they felt challenging while shooting.
'Sleeplessly Yours' is the story of a young couple deciding to go sleepless for four days. It is about how this experiment changes their relationship and the resulting abrupt happenings in their life.
“One scene which was very difficult to shoot was the one where the couple fight with each other towards the end of the film.
Actually, the couple end up in a fight after going sleepless for four days. We didn't know how a person would behave without sleeping for a few days,” said Goutham.
In order to understand the state of forced sleeplessness, Goutham and his friends filmed themselves going sleepless for three days.
“We filmed ourselves and that was a reference. We didn't have any reference from any film or a documentary. Initially it was difficult for us to crack the body language and behaviour of the couple before shooting. We almost took 10 retakes for this. We felt that something was missing each time we tried to capture the behaviour,” he said.
The directors knew that it was important to show the mental state of the characters while they struggled to keep themselves awake. The couple get into argument, they become angry, and are in a state of confusion. The actors had to chip into the role of a person who was losing their sense but not like someone who was drunk. “It was important to portray it in a way that they were not in an alcoholic or a drug high. It was actually a sleep-deprived high as they were tired,” said Goutham.
The initial few takes had the actors in high spirits and less sleep-deprived. The directors were satisfied only after 10 takes. “I think we were satisfied after taking 10 times or so. We manipulated the speed slightly while editing. A sleep-deprived person's attention and mental state will always get affected. An immediate response might not be expected when thrown with a question. There will be a delay. That's how we shot and edited it,” he said.
“It was necessary to show the right kind of sleep-deprived high which was difficult to be shot. It was a different experience to shoot it repeatedly in a closed room from early morning as we wanted the right result. Even the actors took some time to reach that state just like us. That itself was an enriching experience,” said Sudeep.
Team Sleeplessy Yours had their own challenges just like any other independent film-makers. It was the directors' passion that made them finance their own film. The film was a result of the money borrowed from their friends and families. Goutham, who is also the scriptwriter of the film, even had to limit the location to a single set and cut down the number of characters in it. 'Sleeplessly Yours' is a film that was born out of some passionate bunch of friends who wanted to make their dream come true without compromising on their artistic talent.