With the huge success of his debut film Ohm Shanti Oshaana director Jude Anthany Joseph has realised his dream – making a clean entertainer

A week into its release, Jude Anthany Joseph’s debut film, Ohm Shanti Oshaana (OSO), is running to packed houses. “It is a super hit,” says Jude. The look on his face spells contentment.

Congratulatory messages are pouring in, especially from peers and seniors. Director Ranjith Shankar posted on Jude’s Facebook page that he ‘loved’ the film, director Lal Jose, who made his ‘acting debut’ in the film said in a television interview that he didn’t notice the discomfort of watching the film from the second row from the screen…his Facebook page is flush with appreciation.

The debutant director declares he has no pretentions about what he wants his films to be. He wants to entertain because he believes in director Priyadarshan’s take on cinema – the three things it should provide, entertainment, entertainment and entertainment.

Entertainer

The rom-com has Nazariya in the lead as the tomboy Pooja who falls in love with Giri essayed by Nivin Pauly. The film goes back to another, simpler time. There is none of the contemporary violence – in dialogue, script or action. It is the kind of film that entertains – there is the pursuit of love and, of course, the happily ever after.

It’s not every day that one gets to see a bike-riding heroine woo the man of her dreams. And three directors - Renji Panicker, Lal Jose and Vineeth Srinvasan - ‘acting’ in a film is also a first of sorts.

Renji is Dr. Mathews, Pooja’s father, a role for which, Jude says he even contemplated approaching businessman and philanthropist Kochouseph Chittillapilly. “When I approached Lal sir he asked me if it was a minor role, like say that of a mechanic. It was his ‘debut’ because it is the first time he has acted in a specific role. Other appearances have all been as himself. Vineeth also came on board because he was convinced about the film.”

As we talk it is clear that he CAN tell a story. It is hilarious listening to him narrate the story of how he got his parents to let him quit his job with Infosys in Bangalore. Nivin Pauly was, incidentally, a colleague at Infosys. So a transfer to Pune was cooked up.

“I quit and came home and told my mother that I had been transferred to Pune and there were only two options, either move to Pune or quit. I didn’t forget to add that if I went that far I might not be able to come home as often. My mother fell for it, she said ‘you quit,’” he laughs at the memory. That was in 2009. It has been four years and he is happy where he is.

The 30-year-old from Athani, near Aluva, says his parents were confident that he would take care of himself and therefore were not too worried when he quit.

Films were part of his dreams. But the how of it was unanswered till he met actor Dileep’s brother, Anoop through his friend Krishna Prasad (Appu). The only exposure he had was making a music album Youth Turn with students of UC College (Aluva) on advice from his friends. He was involved in the making of Deepu Karunakaran’s Dileep-starrer Crazy Gopalan. He went on to assist Vineeth Sreenivasan for Malarvadi Arts Club and Thattathin Marayathu.

Making the break

He was ready to strike out on his own, after being constantly prodded by friends such as Abraham Mammen (who he thanks in the opening credits) and Nivin. He was working hard at trying to get a good script when actor Aju Varghese told him about writer Mithun Manuel Thomas who had a few scripts with him.

“What he had in mind was a film like those classic films. Along the Thoovana Thumbikal lines…I told Mithun let’s lighten it up a bit and that’s how the story came to be.”

The humour which has been greatly appreciated “wasn’t contrived. It just came out while we were writing and it is just how we would be with friends. I wanted it to be the kind of film my parents and sister can watch. I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable.” And then there were the bits and pieces of their lives. The humour is not bawdy and doesn’t earn laughs from description of bodily functions. “I am a fan of Sathyan Anthikkad sir, Kamal sir, Priyadarshan sir and Lal Jose sir and there is a little bit of something from these directors in OSO.”

There will be more films but as of now he is enjoying what his film has done to his dream.