Web series

‘Hard pill to swallow’: What ‘Kallachirippu’ director wanted from the female lead of his web series

The show, starring Amrutha Srinivasan, is available for viewing on streaming platform ZEE5.

ZEE5’s Tamil web series Kallachirippu (Fake Smile) cuts right to the chase. Within minutes of the thriller’s first episode, a newly married woman stabs her husband in self-defence after a heated argument. She then promptly wipes her blood-spattered face and calls her boyfriend to clean up the mess.

Rohit Nandakumar’s eight-episode series has several such surprises. Produced by Karthik Subburaj, Kallachirippu was released on the streaming platform on July 23.

The idea of the show was to turn the typical portrayal of women in Tamil cinema on its head, Nandakumar told Scroll.in. “The women in my life have been very practical, but the women represented so far in films have been very impractical and seem romanticised,” Nandakumar said. “I wanted the woman to be very cold and a hard pill to swallow for the audience. That is the kind of human beings we meet in real life.”

The series follows 24-year-old Mahati through a series of misadventures that begin after she is forced into an arranged marriage. It stars Amrutha Srinivasan, Vikas, Rajalakshmi, Uma, Maheswaran and Nandakumar.

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Kallachirippu (2018).

Nandakumar, who wrote and acted in one of the six short stories in the Tamil anthology movie Aviyal (2016), was approached by Subbaraj for a web series soon after the film was released. Subbaraj’s Stone Bench Creations had produced Aviyal, and the Tamil filmmaker liked Nandakumar’s work. Subbaraj later gave Nandakumar the option of converting his idea into a feature film, but Nandakumar was happy to stick to the web.

“The first intention was to do a story that revolved around a woman,” Nandakumar said. “I knew that that itself was a huge roadblock in terms of markets at least in Tamil cinema, sadly. I knew that if I wanted to a woman-centric film, I would need to give in to certain market pressures to make sure that the film comes out the way I want. The market dictates certain things.”

The show’s expletive-spouting Mahati, played by a brilliant Srinivasan, is in almost every frame of the show. The director said her character was a reimagining of Tamil cinema’s revered heroes.

“Every commercial film in our country has a hero who actually has a negative shade,” Nandakumar argued. “But we look past it because he is a man. We overlook it because of either the background score or his aura. Whether I am showing a man or a woman in a cool light, I wanted the audience to overlook it without any gender bias.”

Kallachirippu. Image credit: Rohit Nandakumar.
Kallachirippu. Image credit: Rohit Nandakumar.

The series also includes a heartwarming love story between a gay couple. Nandakumar said he wanted to move away from the offensive portrayal of homosexual relationships in Tamil cinema, where they are often reduced to being comic relief. “It is so ingrained in our mind that the perfect image of cinema is a straight romance,” Nandakumar said. “To break that perfect image also I wanted to explore the homosexual angle.”

Nandakumar chose a non-linear narrative structure for Kallachirippu, which he said offered more creative freedom. “The advantage of the non-linear technique is that I could actually make it seem like we were reading a random page of a book to know what is happening in a next page,” he said. “It is like a footnote for a word, which gives a backstory. All these elements came into the picture when I was writing the dialogue. I realised that the nonlinear technique can give me so much leeway to convey the politics in my mind organically.”

Nandakumar found inspiration from a range of sources for his directorial debut, from Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity to K Balachander. “I wanted it to be entertaining and politically correct,” he said. “That is where the influence of cinema helped me.

The director-actor will next star in Karthik Subbaraj’s upcoming film with Rajinikanth, but he is not done with the digital medium. “This will not be my last web series. It is a very liberating experience. I am probably spoilt right now and do not know how the feature experience will be.”

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The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

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The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.