When fiction took a ‘real’ turn

For Rijin John and team, the rescue of trekker Babu came as a shock as it was too similar to the movie script they had prepared
When fiction took a ‘real’ turn
When fiction took a ‘real’ turn

The ordeal and rescue of 23-year-old Babu R, the trekker who got stranded in a cleft of a steep hill for more than 48 hours without food and water, received wide attention from the entire country. However, as the news broke out and the reports started coming in about the rescue efforts, a creative team in Kochi couldn’t shake off a sense of deja-vu. The events that unfolded eerily resembled the script they had written for a feature film in January.

Rijin John, the director and scriptwriter of the feature film titled Balloon, said they were praying for the safety of the trekker and the rescue officials who went to get him. “We wanted Babu’s fate to be as happy as the climax of the movie we had planned. We planned to shoot the movie in Munnar,” he said.

“We were shocked,” he added. However, unlike the incident that unfolded in Palakkad, in their movie, the protagonist gets stuck in a balloon in the hills. “The thread was based on a true story, where a man was rescued from a similar situation in the Middle East. The first draft was developed during the first lockdown,” said Rijin. According to him, the climax was the most challenging part of the movie and they had to convince the producers about it.

However, based on the inputs from friends in the film industry, Rijin has registered the story and its different versions. “We decided to do a short film based on the story and announced a casting call on January 8. We got a good response for it,” said Rijin.

According to Rijin, though many producers and distributors loved the concept, they didn’t believe it would interest viewers because it involved many technological aspects and gadgets like helicopters and drones.

“Besides, the budget estimate was also pretty high due to the VFX sequences involved. After Babu’s incident, the script is no longer fiction. It is a reality now and we are all set to take it forward,” said Rijin.

“The team is happy to see Babu was saved. They are also confident the story will be more appealing to readers now,” said Rijin who is a serial entrepreneur and also the coordinator of the Centre for Social Innovation and Incubation at Rajagiri Engineering College.

He is a protagonist in Harvard and Ivey case studies and has multiple patents filings and records to his credit. His latest venture in semiconductors had bagged strategic investment from FabCI IIT Hyderabad.

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