Representing Malaysia in an international film festival is the film “Pulanaivu”, a film written and directed by Malaysian-born writer and actress Shalini Balasundaram alongside her film cinematographer husband, Sathish Natarajan. The hour and 58-minute film has just recently been awarded the title of “Best Crim Thriller Feature Film”, beating out other international films at the Toronto Tamil Film Festival. ‘Pulanaivu’, which means “intelligence” or “investigation”, was produced by and with a fully Malaysian cast.
The movie follows the story of Aishwarya (played by Shalini Balasundaram), a young woman who is just starting college. At the same time, Aishwarya is trying to move on from a previous relationship. As a result, she shows little to no interest in her new friend, who falls for her and openly tries to earn her love and attention. However, instead of a simple love story, the characters soon find themselves in danger following a murder in their college. Their lives and loved ones are suddenly on the line. In comes Bhairavi (Datin Seri Shaila V.), a female cop who is chosen to investigate the case. As they attempt to prove their innocence and weed out the murderer amongst the suspects, viewers are then left to question: who is the murderer and will they be able to find him/her?
Following the news that of the accolade, Datin Seri Shaila V. took to her Instagram account to express her gratitude to the team and fans for the award. When the film was first released, she talked about her time preparing for the character and shared:
“Preparing for my character was quite difficult as I had to transit my personality from being feminine and soft-spoken to something more serious and rough in order to fit into the role,”
The star-studded cast backed by Shaibha Vision and Story Films also includes Shalini, Shaila, Kabil Ganesan, Sarankumar, Krithigah Nair, Shabby Ley, Shahrwind, KS Maniam, Shashi Tharan, Desmond Dass, Mardini, Irfan Zaini, Pashini Sivakumar, and Ramkumar Ravichandran.
The film, released on 14 November 2019 in Malaysia, has also picked up two awards from the Norway Tamil Film Festival in February for ‘Best Actress’ as well as ‘Best Screenplay’.