Filmmaker Joshiy traces his journey in filmdom.
Rarely does Joshiy give interviews. He prefers to let his movies to do the talking. And those movies have been talking to and entertaining us for the last four decades. Joshiy rewinds during an interview in Kozhikode. His latest film ‘Sevenes' reached theatres during Onam. ‘Sevenes' is Joshiy's first ever Malayalam film without any reigning superstars. “I decided to do ‘Sevenes' because I liked its script. Working with a large group of young actors was a nice experience,” says Joshiy.
Listening to the man, who has made several blockbusters such as ‘Twenty 20,' ‘New Delhi,' ‘Pathram,' and ‘Sandharbham' is like listening to reading a brief history of mainstream Malayalam cinema since 1978. Excerpts from Joshiy's interview…
At a time when most of our filmmakers and actors are so media-savvy, why don't you like talking to the media?
I am an introvert. It is not just to the media, I don't like talking much. I don't attend any public functions. I never express opinions on television. Rather than talking about my films, I would rather think of and see films, all the time. And, I can talk only if I feel comfortable with a person.
Your first hit, ‘Moorkhan,’ was way back in 1980. ‘Christian Brothers,’ your previous film was also a hit. How do you pull it off, year after year?
I only make films that I am absolutely convinced about. I try to keep get ahead of the trend. I don't repeat myself. And I am quite a perfectionist. I don't copy other films or filmmakers. I never compromise while shooting. Once, I cancelled a day's shoot for ‘New Delhi' because the costume of the actor who played the President of Angola President didn't look right.
More than 70 films in 33 years, what keeps you going ?
My passion for cinema. I have been breathing cinema ever since I was a kid, growing up at Varkala.
What are your earliest memories about cinema?
Watching the Tamil film ‘Uthama Puthiran' at my family's theatre at Varkala. I was six years old at that time. My father died while I was watching it. I remember my aunt coming to the theatre that night to fetch me and making me run along with her back to our home.
You helped Mammootty stage a remarkable comeback with ‘New Delhi.'
Mammootty was going through his worst phase at that time. But I had great faith in him as an actor and was confident that he would deliver.
‘Kuttettan,' one of your best works with Mammootty, wasn't a hit.
I don't know why it wasn't. It had a splendid script by Lohithadas and a superb performance by Mammootty, who excelled in comic scenes; remember it was long before he began doing comedies.
How big a challenge was shooting the entire ‘No. 20 Madras Mail' on a running train?
Very challenging. Especially with the primitive technology – compared to the present day – that was available in 1990. There wasn't even a walkie-talkie to communicate with my crew.
Was directing ‘Twenty 20,' featuring so many big stars a challenge too?
No, it wasn't. The stars didn't give me any problem at all. And I just took it as just another film.
You were written off on more than one occasion, but came back even stronger on every occasion.
Yes, people had said I was finished in 1986 when my films such as ‘Nyayavidhi,' ‘Veendum,' and ‘Sayamsandhya' flopped in succession, but I came back with ‘New Delhi.' Then in 1996, when ‘Bhoopathi' bombed, I was written off yet again, but I was back with ‘Pathram' and ‘Lelam.' In 2001, when ‘Praja' and ‘Dubai' failed, many people thought it was the end of me. But the success of ‘Runway' silenced them.