On location: Vedivazhipadu, directed by debutant Shambu Purushothaman, is a different take of events that unfold during an Attukal Pongala.
There is pin-drop silence in the living room of an upmarket pool-side villa, one of the many in a residential colony at Karakulam on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram. And that’s despite the 25 or so crew members crammed into the small space and a handful of others watching the action unfold. It’s the location for the day for Shambu Purushothaman’s directorial debut Vedivazhipadu, with which director Arun Kumar Aravind makes his debut as a producer.
As the camera stars whirring, actors Indrajith and Mythili engage in banter. The shot ends when Indrajith, who is idly swirling the contents in a glass, flashes a smile at Mythili. After a nod at cinematographer Shehnad Jalal, his batch mate from Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata, Shambu okays the shot.
Indrajith, dressed in a blue T-shirt and grey lounge pants, and Mythili, looking gorgeous in a Kerala sari and impossibly tapering high heels, hop over to watch the playback and listen to Shambu’s suggestions. The director wants Indrajith to give a more suggestive smile at the end and the actors and crew go in for a re-take before breaking for tea.
Sipping a glass of piping hot black tea and leaning against a doorframe of the contemporarily-decorated living room, Shambu says: “The narrative of Vedivazhipadu unfolds over the course of a day in Thiruvananthapuram, when the Pongala at the Attukal temple has brought thousands of women onto the road to cook their offerings to the Goddess and the city to a standstill [the action during the Pongala was filmed earlier this year]. The lives of a few people, some of who are friends/acquaintances and some who are strangers, get mixed up in a particular incident that has some far-reaching consequences.” The director, who has also written the script of the film, is tight-lipped about the rest of the storyline, saying almost apologetically: “I don’t want to give too much away. It’s a story that has been on my mind for a while now. The film deals with a serious subject but has a lot of humour.”
The story, apparently, unfolds through the lives of a bunch of men. Murali Gopi is Rahul, a video game-tester, while Indrajith plays Joseph, a stockbroker. Saiju Kurup dons the role of Sanjay, a cashier in a bank, and Sreejith Ravi, is a speculator in the stock market. Indrajith who is done with his shots for the time being has a spring in his step, perhaps because he is having a great 2013 on the back of stand out roles in Amen, Up & Down Mukalil Oralundu, Left Right Left, and equally exciting upcoming flicks such as Arikil Oraal, Ezahamathe Varavu (in which he is teaming with Hariharan and M.T. Vasudevan Nair), Kanchi, Escape from Uganda and Lijo Pellisserry’s next, Antichrist, to name but a few. “It’s been a superb year and I think it’s going to continue!” he grins. “In Vedivazhipadu too, I have a great role. Actually, each of us has small but equally important roles. My character Joseph is a savvy, fun-loving guy, whose wife is a Frenchwoman. She doesn’t live in town.” So, when the cat’s away the mice will play…? “That’s part of the mystery!” he says with a laugh, as Shehnad focusses the camera on Mythili.
“She plays Sreejith’s wife in the film. She has come to Joseph’s house instead of taking part in the Pongala,” whispers one of the crew members, as Mythili disappears soon after her shot to get her make-up fixed. Apart from the young actor, Anumol, Anusree, and tele-serial artiste Anjana Haridas are the other main female leads. Comedian-actor Ashvin Mathew also has an important role in the film – as the chief of a television channel, where Anusree, who plays Saiju’s wife in the film, is an anchor.
The film is being produced under the banner of Karmayug Movies. Music is by Gopi Sundar and stills are by Najeeb M. Bava. Vedivazhipadu is set to hit theatres in October.