Sriram Raghavan looks back at his wacky FTII diploma film, The Eight Column Affair (1987)

Posted on July 4, 2020


With Rajkumar Hirani as editor, Shiv Subramaniam as the lead and Nana Patekar in a knife-wielding cameo, this short won the National Award for Best Short Fiction Film.

A conversation with the Andhadhun director about his diploma film, which explores the idea of news “coming alive” when an athlete featured on the front page of a newspaper falls for a model-pretty tennis player featured on the last page. He has to cross through various newspaper headline-hurdles to get to the girl.

‘The Eight Column Affair’ is one of the best illustrations of the race-against-time concept I’ve seen. Because a newspaper literally “expires” at the end of the day and a new edition takes its place. So our hero’s “race against time” becomes literal.  I had no idea Shiv Subramaniam had acted in something so long ago. It was fun to see him as the athlete.  

We were doing our diploma films. I had to think of a story in a month. So I was just sitting there reading, and I came across an article about a short film written by Wendy Toye. In the interview, she was saying she wanted to do something like the newspapers and all that. So the basic, kind of kick-off point was that: what if we do a front page/last page kind of thing!

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