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Focus on some stark realities

Pradeep Nair on his feature film `Oridam.'

FILM MUSIC from the nearby theatre had always attracted him to see films as a child. And by the time he reached college, Pradeep Nair had formed a group of film buffs, who "saw, discussed and dreamt good cinema."

After making some documentaries that were received well by the audience, Pradeep has now come up with his debut film `Oridam' in which Geetu Mohandas plays the protagonist, a sex worker.

"The theme for the film struck me after I came across a feature on the plight of sex workers in a magazine, where one of them said that the evenings brought in a sort of despair in her mind."

He completed the script in six months. But he found it tough to find a producer for a "serious" film. Finally, Jessinlal James, an NRI who is an M. Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, came into the picture "through mutual friends" and agreed to produce the film. "His only demand was that I should make a good film," says Pradeep.

`Oridam' has only a handful of known faces enacting the roles. KPAC Lalitha plays a "senior sex worker, who is suffering from retirement pangs." Most of the characters, including that of Geetu, are not known by any name in the film. "The plight of the sex workers is so pathetic that their identity is decided by their physical features," reasons the director.

Pradeep met a lot of sex workers across the State before he started shooting. "Virtually no one comes into this profession by choice. How they entered it varies, but most of them have some stories of betrayal to say. They want to get out of it, but are discouraged by what they would do for a living. They know that once you are into the fold, there is almost no way out."

Selection of actors

How did Geetu come into the scheme of things? "We had planned to approach Konkona Sen Sharma for the role. But after seeing Geetu in `Akale,' we went to her with the script and she agreed to do the film immediately." Pradeep has managed to rope in well-known people in his team. "Although I knew him before, it was only a few before the shooting started that we could rope in Manoj M, a product of the Film and Television Institute of India, as the cinematographer for the film. Again, it was our luck that Isaac Thomas Kottukappilly agreed to do the music,"

Pradeep thinks that "there is a difference in the cinematic language between the so-called mainstream and parallel cinema. However, our audience seems to be ready to accept good films, regardless of all those factors. The success of films like Blessy's `Kazhcha' prove this. We hope that the audience will accept `Oridam' with such a mindset."

VIJAY GEORGE

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