The actors move against each other with sinuous grace as K.S. Chitra’s melodious rendering of the re-mastered golden oldie ‘Prananathan enikku nalkiya paramananda rasathe’ is played loudly on the speakers. Veteran cinematographer Ramachandra Babu goes in for a close up on the dolly. Both crew and spectators alike appear to be caught up in the gracefulness of the moment, only to be brought down to earth as soon as director Sashi Paravoor yells, “Cut!”

It is the day’s location for Sashi’s latest film ‘Kadaksham,’ that is being shot inside the lovely old architectural heritage that is the Kuthiramalika of the Bhajanapuram Palace at Thiruvanathapuram. Suresh Gopi stars in the lead as a renowned but troubled artist by name of Nathan, who is suffering from “artist’s block.” Debutant Swetha Vijay, who won the title of Miss India Earth in 2003, plays the heroine – a domestic help named Janaki who is married to the morally unscrupulous theatre actor, Madhavan, played by Jagathy Sreekumar. Former model Swetha Menon dons the role of Nathan’s wife, Revathy.

“‘Kadaksham’ is a heroine-centric film. It is the journey of a woman towards finding her own space in society. It is about how women, in this case Janaki, is perceived by a cross-section of society. Whatever age they may be there is simply no hiding the fact that women are always haunted by societal norms,” says Sashi, the lawyer-turned-filmmaker who was inspired to write the story and the script upon hearing of the tale of a six-year-old who was sexually abused and murdered. “That incident got me thinking about the people behind the scenes. After such an incident is talked about and forgotten by the masses, what happens to the near and dear of these victims, especially their mothers?” he asks as the crew get ready for the next shot.

This is what is narrated in the film through the relationship between Nathan and the two women, says Sashi. Revathy, who is home on a vacation while pursuing a fellowship in London, was Nathan’s muse before she became his wife. The couple and their daughter appear to be the ideal family but as the film progresses we see that there are obvious cracks in their marriage and because of that Nathan’s work suffers. In comes to their house the beautiful Janaki, who is seeking a reprieve from the cruelty of her husband. Soon Nathan is totally enamoured by the nubile Janaki and she becomes his muse.

“It’s the role of a lifetime,” says Shweta Vijay. “The character of Janaki is very complex. She has to portray so many emotions and face so many adversaries. But remarkably she has no shades of grey. And because of that playing her was a challenge,” adds the actor, who is thrilled about her first outing in Mollywood. Jagathy’s is another character to watch out for says the director, for though he plays a rogue “it’s very much a loveable rogue.”

‘Kadaksham’ is being produced by A.V. Anoop under the banner of AVA productions. Dialogues are by debutant Muralikrishna, art direction by Krishnankutty and stills by Hari Thirumala.