Malayalam cinema has undoubtedly woken up to the throes of a new movement. A movement trail blazed by new age directors who are imaginative, un-stoppable and daring to go beyond the obvious.
After a decade- long career in marketing, debutant director Ajith Pillai wields the directorial baton, as he takes the plunge with ‘MosayileKuthirameenukal’, poised to hit the screens this month. The characters in the movie are played by Kollywood’s leading actors like Swati Reddy and Janani Iyer alongside Asif Ali and Sunny Wayne from Molly wood. Shot in the scenic locales in Andaman ,Lakswadeep and Cochin, the movie is all set for release by this month.
Excerpts from an exclusive interview to Dashing Journal.
Going from a career in marketing to film-making, where did you begin? Was there a glass ceiling?
If you are passionate about something, you will find means to make it work. Then there is this critical factor called timing. The industry was in the thick of change and was open to welcoming new talents. It was the new age culture and I happened to be in the right circle and meet the kind of people who share my passion. Ultimately, you have to make something that demands attention and that is just what my script did.
What would you say inspires you as a film-maker?
As a keen follower of cinema, I spend quality time watching international films, reading books and observing the styles chosen by directors. Inspiration comes in many forms, as authors, ace directors and even a common man I meet at a random event.
How did you choose your actors for the characters in your script? Is it based on a role they have played in the past or an attribute of their inner persona?
Yes, casting has a lot to do with the actor’s persona and their innate ability to transform to a character. Neither of the actors in MKM has portrayed a similar role in the past and this difference adds an element of freshness to the movie.
What was the most challenging aspect of making MKM?
The movie was shot in parts of Andaman and Lakshwadweep and it was a first time experience for the entire crew. Shooting in the sea location has plenty of challenges and limitations. The sea was rough and we had underwater sequences to be shot. It takes courage to place passion before fear and that was the best part about working with the MKM team. Amidst the adversity, we did have a great time.
They say, an actor’s greatest aid is observation. According to you, what is a director’s greatest aid?
I was new to the industry and it was important to rope in the right people who share the same passion. And that was where I got lucky. Getting the right crew is important in bringing out a cinema from a script.
What do you think will be the strongest indication of a director’s expertise in any film?
For the audience, it is the feel the film exudes. I was lucky to have chosen a crew that gels so well and it does reflect in the movie. From a technical perspective, it has a lot to do with planning and tweaking the shots, picking the right talent and pulling it off amidst challenges.
Did your experience in marketing come in handy for this new role?
(Smiles). The packaging of the film is very important. It helps to create awareness and curiosity before the release. In this new role, I have taken an earnest effort to focus on the creative spirit at the same time, giving a fair share to commercial viability of the film.
What is the one thing that you must do in order to make it in this industry?
One of the most important things is perseverance and fear of failure. I certainly didn’t want to come back without fulfilling what I was here for.I worked for a good two years writing scripts and handling creative consulting before I got a major break. There were plenty of those zig zag moments and that of self-contemplation. But then, I just went ahead.
A film maker has a fair share of responsibility to build the moral fibre of the society. What is your take on this?
Well, I believe in a meaningful cinema. I have been inspired by several foreign films which portrays several shades of life and emotion. While a vast majority prefers entertainment cinema, I would opt to weave in a bit of realism as well. At the end of the day, film means business and I am responsible for the people who invest in me.
Any words of wisdom to budding film makers who want to make it big in the film industry?
Be prepared to work hard and do your homework well. The industry will welcome the deserving provided you have confidence in what you do.
The title of your film is quite intriguing. Can you describe your film?
Mosa means waves in Lakshwadeep lingo and Kuthirameenukal means swordfish. Sword fish are generally selfish in nature and this trait is what the movie is all about. MKM is a contemporary thriller,peppered with romance, comedy and humour packed into a feel good cinema.
Please find the link here - http://dashingmagazine.in/2014/05/taking-the-plunge/
Sreeja Raveendran is a seasoned communication professional with a penchant for hand-made art. She loves exploring different mediums of creative expression and is currently a correspondent with Dashing Magazine.