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Redefining his style

SANGEETA

Ranjith's `Kaiyoppu,' which releases today, narrates the despair and dreams of a writer.



DIRECTOR'S HALLMARK: `Kaiyoppu,' directed by Ranjith, delves into the mindscape of the protagonist Balachandran, played by Mammootty.

After making a clutch of films that focussed on larger-than-life characters, director and scenarist Ranjith has come up with `Kaiyoppu,' a low-budget, offbeat film that narrates the travails of a writer suffering from writer's block.

`Kaiyoppu,' which hits theatres today, does not have the commercial dynamics of `Narasimham' or `Ravana Prabhu.' Instead of punch lines, lengthy dialogues and superhuman heroes, `Kaiyoppu' has an unusual story in which Mammotty appears in a subtle role as Balachandran, a writer. Excerpts from an interview with the director Ranjith.

What is Kaiyoppu all about?

Kaiyoppu is about Balachandran, an avid reader turned creative writer. It is about his life, passions and dreams. It is also about his inadequacies and predicaments. The occasional creative spark in Balan make him jot down his literary masterpieces. Some gets published, some do not. Sivadasan, a publisher, tries to persuade him to complete a book for him. That is when Padma, his former girl friend, enters his life again. His life and the film take a different turn from there. Though the focus is on emotions, `Kaiyoppu' also has a strong underlying political statement.

Why did you chose such a theme?

The idea occurred to me and I thought this is the right time to present it. All my films have been made this way. I wrote `Georgekutty c/o Georgekutty,' and `PeruvannapuratheVisheshangal' because I wanted to. I wrote `Devasuram' and `Nandanam' because I felt I had to. The same with `Narasimham,' `Aaram Thumburan' and the rest. The theme actually does not matter, it is your involvement that matters.

Why did you chose Mammootty to play the lead?

Because he is an actor par excellence. Because there is no one I can think of who would gel perfectly with Balachandran. Mammootty, or for that matter Lal, is cast in a film due to their acting prowess; not because of their fan following. This question would have been relevant if I had cast Chiranjeevi or Rajanikanth in the film, not in Mammooty's case.

It is a different shade of romance that you have tried to portray in `Kaiyoppu.'

I think it is more a romance than a physical attraction. I would classify it as a mature friendship. It is more of a camaraderie on an intellectual and spiritual level. Balachandran and Padma (enacted by Khushboo) were once involved in a college romance. But in the film, they are shown as two individuals leading their own lives. Padma returns after a failed marriage and though she wants to seek out Balan, there are many things that hold her back. Similarly, the difference of opinion between Padma and her husband has been depicted with a lot of subtlety. He does not negate the individual in Padma on account of their failed marriage.

Many of the songs in your previous films were chart toppers. `Kaiyoppu' disappoints in that context. Why?

True. `Kaiyoppu' does not have any songs, except for an old Hindi number (`Jalthe Hain Jiske Liye' from `Sujata') rendered by Gayatri, that too without any orchestration. Padma renders this song over the phone for Balachandran. Other than this, there were no situations where we could have incorporate songs.

The key contributors of the film

The cast includes Mukesh, Nedumudi Venu, Narayanan Nair, Jaffer and Neena Kurup. All the team members agreed to reduce their remuneration for the film. Mammootty, in fact, did it for no remuneration at all. Sulphath Mammootty contributed to the production.

What next?

A film on the life of screen celebrities. The film would star Prithviraj and Mamta Mohandas and would focus on romance. It will be produced by Rajaputhra Films.

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