Known for his high-strung emotional movies that reflect aspects of Kerala psyche, 53-year-old film-maker Jayaraj now ventures into the writers’ world with a book that closely follows his films in style and content.

Sri Sri Sri Vavachante Suvisheshangal is about a man who was a part of Jayaraj’s growing up years. Later, he also acted in the filmmaker’s movie, Karunam. Vavachan, a mentally challenged man from Jayaraj’s native village in Changanassery, is no less than a saint, in Jayaraj’s view.

In him, Jayaraj finds life original and pure. Vavachan’s observations, to him, are aphorisms, which he uses to punctuate each chapter of the book with.

Jayaraj sees Vavachan’s weaknesses as a reflection of the man’s innocence. He gets drunk, sings old Malayalam songs in his drunken stupor, and finds his bed by the drain after a late-night show. He reaches out to children with chocolates bought with borrowed money.

He makes people laugh by reading out aloud from old newspapers, he dreams of marrying yesteryear film stars, fancies calling himself a policeman, and has a way with people wherever he goes. His innocence is his persona. Bowled over by it, Jayaraj casts him as the protagonist in Karunam, and made him act (nay, live, in the director’s words).

The movie went on to reap awards in international forums, transforming Vavachan to Karunam Vavachan. The book follows Jayaraj’s and Vavachan’s relationship. From playmates they go on to become companions and continue to share a deep bond.

Though it might seem that it was Jayaraj who took care of Vavachan, the director’s reliance on the man for spiritual succour is evident in every page of the book. Jayaraj remembers how he drove down to Vavachan’s house when he had hit a low and was contemplating quitting cinema. Vavachan restored his confidence saying, “You made a mentally challenged person act and win awards. You shouldn’t quit cinema.”

In Vavachan’s tale, Jayaraj has a touching story and ample feed for an engaging movie script. But even as a book, it is a good personal story, narrated in smooth, effortless words.

Sri Sri Sri Vavachan Suvisheshangal, Jayaraj, Current Books, Rs. 85