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Updated: April 8, 2010 18:29 IST

Courting cinema

Saraswathy Nagarajan
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Filmmaker Sasi Paravoor
The Hindu
Filmmaker Sasi Paravoor

Sasi Paravoor on his film ‘Kadaksham' that won him the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Story

Sasidharan Pillai (a.k.a. Sasi Paravoor) is not happy! Despite winning the Kerala State film award for the best story and words of praise from the chairperson of the jury, Sai Paranjpye, for the originality of his story, Sasi is disappointed that the jury overlooked the sterling acts of veteran Jagathy Srikumar and debutant actor Shweta Vijay in his film ‘Kadaksham,' which is releasing today.

“I had expected Jagathy to win an award for his acting in my film. It is a one-of-a-kind role and only Jagathy could have done justice to the role. Swetha, who played Janaki, Jagathy's character's wife, really lived her role of a domestic worker, harassed wife and loving mother,” says Sasi.

Written, scripted and directed by Sasi himself, ‘Kadaksham,' says Sasi, is a rare woman-centric film. The seed of the story was planted when he came across the parents of a child who had been molested and killed. “All the media attention was on the accused and the parents were watching the drama from the sidelines with tears in their eyes,” recalls Sasi.

Moved by their helplessness, Sasi, a much-published author before he became a leading legal practitioner, wrote the story of the film that will reach theatres today. ‘Kadaksham' tackles the issue of child abuse and it is told through the story of two women and three children. “Two mothers and the circumstances that force them to be away from their daughters despite the differences in their financial and social standing is the crux of the story. It is about the ‘male gaze' and how so many women feel insecure even in public places and in their homes,” says Sasi.

Suresh Gopi (Nathan), Swetha Menon, Swetha (Janaki), Jagathy Srikumar and Vijayaraghavan play the main characters in the film that examines why society turns a blind eye to many forms of child abuse and gender inequality.

Fighting injustice

Expressing his gratitude for the award, the self-taught filmmaker who stumbled into tinsel town says that he sees cinema as a medium to highlight the injustices in society. “After 35 years as a practising lawyer, there are times, when I feel disheartened by the delay in securing justice. I feel that as a filmmaker I can make society aware of the ills that plague our world and empower them through information,” he says.

Out of this desire was born his debut directorial film, ‘Kattu Vannu Vilichapol.' He admits that the lack of technical knowhow and experience petrified him initially. But as the producer of films such as ‘Kauravar,' and ‘Pranaya Varnangal,' he took strength from his experiences in tinsel town to go ahead with the film.

“I wrote the story of the film but many directors were not keen on making the film. I showed the script to T.V. Chandran, K.G. George and K.P. Kumaran. They assured me that I had a winning project on my hand and so I should just go ahead and make it. Finally, I showed it to the late Lohitadas who I consider as my guru. On the day before the shoot, I was terribly nervous. However, Lohi gave me the confidence and the courage to go ahead with the project and that was how I made the much acclaimed ‘Kattu Vannu Vilichapol in 2000 with just Rs. 20 lakhs,”' remembers Sasi.

That was followed by the equally well-received ‘Nottam,' which spoke about the onslaught of globalisation on our culture and heritage.

“For me, cinema is not just entertainment. It has to have a social purpose also and each of the films I directed satisfied that norm. Legal practice is my profession but filmmaking is my passion,” says Sasi who is determined to follow his heart.

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