As ‘Nidra' reaches the marquee, actor-director Siddharth Bharathan explains why he decided to remake the film that was made by his father, the late Bharathan.
In 1981, auteur Bharathan made ‘Nidra,' with Shanthi Krishna and Vijay Menon in the lead. More than three decades later, his son, director Siddharth Bharathan is remaking the film with himself and Rima Kallingal in the lead roles. The film narrates the sensuous love story of Raju and Aswathy. Raju is driven to the brink by circumstance and expectations of a materialistic world. The only person who keeps him grounded is his wife, Aswathy.
The film also marks the coming together of Siddharth and Jishnu Raghavan, who were launched as actors in Kamal's ‘Nammal,' almost a decade ago.
As ‘Nidra' releases on Friday, Siddharth talks about the making of the film. Excerpt from an interview ...
Of all your father's films, why did you choose to remake ‘Nidra?'
The main reason is that the story is relevant even now. The new version is contemporary and unfolds in a family who lives in a small town.
How different is it from the earlier version?
The basic storyline hasn't changed much, but the content has changed. Or, let's say, the presentation has been changed, but the essence is still there.
What are the pluses and minuses when you remake a film?
I would say it is all about the way you look at it. The viewer is aware about the storyline when they go to watch a remake. This is an advantage when we approach it as an art and the same thing could be viewed as a disadvantage when it is seen purely from a commercial angle. Here we have approached this film with a positive mindset and our effort has been to persuade the viewer to think that the story could have been narrated in this pattern as well. I think we have done it in a convincing way.
How was it directing your maiden venture and doing the lead role in it?
I have been working on this script for quite some time now and I could easily relate to the psyche of the character as I used to emote out the character's nature at various stages of development. We had cast another actor in the lead role. But when he couldn't do it due to certain personal issues, it was relatively easy for me to step into the shoes of the character.
As you were remaking a film originally directed by your father, was it an emotional journey as well?
Absolutely. In fact the whole film is an emotional one. Those who have worked with me have enjoyed my father's films and I am aware that when they support me it would be because they have faith in me, as his son. And I have given my best to the film.
How was it directing your mother, KPAC Lalitha, since she is one of the finest actors in Malayalam?
It was a really nice experience. In fact, I have directed her earlier, in a short film called ‘Kaathu Kaathu.' Of course, I used to discuss the script with her before we started shooting. She is doing the same character that she did in the earlier ‘Nidra,' 30 years ago.
What was the experience of shooting the film, especially directing Jishnu, with whom you started your stint as an actor in ‘Nammal'?
The whole shooting was actually a collective effort and great fun, especially with Rima Kallingal, Jishnu, cinematographer Sameer Thahir, and so on. My duty was to channelise their flow of energy. Jishnu has matured tremendously as an actor, when compared to those days when we were shooting together for ‘Nammal.' If Raju, my character, prefers to follow his own heart to the diktats of society, Jishnu's character, unlike that of his brother, is a practical man! Rima has a pivotal role in the film. In fact, after a certain point, the whole story slowly shifts to her Aswathy, and she is the one who carries the film from then on.
Will you do any more remakes in the future?
If I am inspired to say something strong through a film and if I can contribute to it in my own way, then I will definitely do it.