On location: Shyamaprasad’s Artist paints a picture of love and life in the world of art.
Ann Augustine is sitting in a café waiting for someone. She looks worried and keeps on looking at the door. She then picks up her phone and makes a call. She grows impatient as the phone keeps ringing at the other end. Finally when Michael, played by Fahadh Faasil, picks up the phone, she seems agitated that he has forgotten an appointment. She requests him to come to the café with his portfolio as soon as possible and cuts the call.
A couple of takes later, Shyamaprasad looks pleased with the scene. The crew then shoots the scene from another angle. We are at Cherries and Berries, a café in Thiruvananthapuram where the seasoned director is shooting a scene of Artist. Since the movie is being shot in sync sound, the construction work going on in the building interrupts the shots in between. Barring that hiccup, the team finishes the shoot on schedule and moves on to the next location.
Ann plays Gayathri, who along with Michael, is supposed to meet a curator, Roy (Sidhartha Siva). “Gayathri and Michael are artists, who fell in love while in college and are now living together. But once they start a relationship, they realise that living together under the same roof is something different altogether. In a way it is a love story, but is set against the backdrop of art and other facets of life. Ego, selfishness and the complexities in the art world come in the way of their relationship. While Ann’s character is very practical, Fahadh lives in a world of his own. She manages his schedules and work, but he fails her often. For instance, though he is supposed to meet a curator, he fails to turn up on time,” Shyamaprasad says.
It is for the first time that Shyamaprasad is working with both Fahadh and Ann. “Both of them are good actors. Fahadh has proved his mettle. And Ann turned out to be a big surprise. She has held on her own against an actor like Fahadh. Malayalam cinema hasn’t really exploited the actor in her,” he says.
The compliment obviously pleases Ann. With a big smile, she says: “It has been a wonderful experience. I was a bit apprehensive in the beginning. In fact, I was very scared. Also, sync sound was a new experience for me. But, everything has been so well-organised that I had enough time to prepare for the role. I was given the full script and we had a workshop. Plus I’m working with a great crew as well. Working with Shanu (Fahadh) was really exciting. Although we’d worked in Friday, we didn’t have any combination scenes in the movie.”
And she can’t stop gushing about her role. “I could relate with Gayathri a lot. After Elsamma (in Elsamma Enna Aankutty) that hasn’t happened for any other role. I love the character of Gayathri.” Ann has got a refreshing look as well having used “minimal make-up.” Sohail Sanwari is the sound designer and Shamdat the cinematographer of Artist. The music director hasn’t been fixed yet, says Shyamaprasad who has written the screenplay as well. He adds that Artist would hit the screens after the release of English, which is expected to come out around Vishu or end of April. Krishnachandran, Vanitha, Sreeram Ramachandran (of the sitcom ‘Chumma’ on Amrita TV) and Shrinda Ahshab (Annayum Rasoolum-fame) are among those in the cast. The movie, shot in and around Thiruvananthapuram, is produced by Sunitha Productions. Still photographer is Anu Pallichal.