New kids on the block
A handful of new directors have emerged successful with their maiden ventures.
WITH SO much talent around, it is a lucky few who make it big in tinseltown. But everyone agrees "it is not a cakewalk."
Debutant Blessy with his `Kazhcha,' one of the few success stories of last year, set the stage for a new crop of young directors to make their presence felt in the industry.
Rosshan Andrrews was the first to emulate the feat to perfection with his film `Udayananu Tharam,' which is running to packed houses in theatres across Kerala. A few more directors have made their debut in Malayalam filmdom in quick succession in the first quarter of the year. And the significant thing about these young directors is that they are sure of their choices and goals.
The first thing you notice about Rosshan, for instance, is his confidence. "Although I was part of `Ayal Kadhayezhuthukayanu,' as one of the assistant directors, when I went to Sreenivasan with a few story ideas, he barely knew me. I somehow managed to fix up an appointment with him and after narrating a few stories, finally narrated the theme of `Udayananu Tharam' and soon, he agreed to write the script," says Andrrews.
Rajesh Pillai, whose `Hrudayathil Sookshikkan' is, according to his own assessment, "a simple story without much confusion, twists or turns and can be enjoyed by anyone," is one of them. He had worked with T.K. Rajeevkumar, Rajeev Anchal and Viji Thampi before venturing out on his own.
With the heroine in his film insisting on her father's consent before accepting the hero's hand, the film glorifies "traditional values." Are there many takers for such themes among the new generation? "Of course, there are. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the response of college students with whom I had gone for a show," says Rajesh.
Sathish Paul, director of `Fingerprint,' which unveils a mystery, agrees that his film has evoked a mixed response. Sathish says he has not compromised on his concept of cinema, which is based on what he learnt as a student of filmmaking in Toronto. The assistant professor at the SCMS Engineering College in Angamaly jokes that the news of his being trained in the West has not worked to the advantage of the film much. "Most of us have this notion that Hollywood only makes films such as `Titanic' and `Star Wars' and my film was expected to be a hi-tech one with full of visual effects. Actually, loads of classic small budget movies have been the backbone in Hollywood. My effort has been in that direction."
He had a storyboard ready before the actual shooting started and on his `day of debut,' Sathish had taken around 120 shots. "I had a definite plan about making the film and the shooting was completed in 25 days," says Sathish.
For Sarath Chandran Wayanad, director of `Annorikkal', films had always held some attraction, even when he was a kid. The journey that took him to his debut film was a mix of "pains, sufferings and of course, happiness at times," just as it happens in films. It was Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair who had recommended him to director Bharathan after coming to know of his flair for writing stories. Later, Sarath assisted Sibi Malayil, Lal Jose and Sunder Das.
"It was during the shooting of `Chandranudikkunna Dikkil' that I saw a nine-year-old girl who looked graceful but had never gone to school owing to her surroundings. I decided to make a story based on her, and Kavya Madhavan, who was also present, told me that when I made the film, she would play the character. Now, it has come true."
Sarath says his film is a commercial venture and not just aimed at the awards. It is the story of people who toil it out on their land. "We have learnt what the audience expects from us after our debut films. We are in no hurry, but want to make quality films that cater to the public," they say. They believe that there is space for more talents in the industry to show their expertise.
The debut projects of more newcomers are set to hit the screen. This includes `Oridam,' directed by Pradeep Nair. The film is slated for release soon and has Geetu Mohandas in the role of a sex worker. "While I had gone to Siddique to write the script for `Fingerprint,' he told me that with him around, the public expects stories told with loads of comedy in it. But I believe that the audience would never have such prejudices," says Sathish.
Sarath Chandran Wayanad
Now that they have been accepted by the audiences, these young directors are working on projects that will be "different" from their maiden ventures. While Rajesh is considering a thriller, Sathish has plans to make a film on the Mumbai underworld "which will not certainly be one in which a Malayali establishes himself against all odds to rule the underworld."
Sarath is going ahead with a script titled `Janmam,' based on the story of an undertaker. Rosshan says his next project will be in all probability a movie for children. Another story is being discussed with Sreenivasan, with Mohanlal playing the hero. But things are yet to be finalised.
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