Arun Kumar Aravind's ‘Ee Adutha Kaalathu' tells the story of six individuals unwittingly caught up in some extraordinary events.
The usually quiet environs of a suburban maidan in Thiruvananthapuram is a flurry of activity, early in the morning on a blustery Wednesday. It is the day's location for editor-turned director Arun Kumar Aravind's new film ‘Ee Adutha Kaalathu.'
On one side of the maidan, two teams, one of them with actor Indrajith, are competing in a ‘tennis ball' cricket tournament. Indrajith, who makes a slick ‘hook' shot, is greeted with thumps on the back by his teammates and cheers from the assembled crowd. On the sidelines is actor Tanushri Ghosh, who is seen talking agitatedly on the phone. We also see actor Nishan, sporting a grungy look, loitering in the background. In another part of the ground, Jagathy Sreekumar is gingerly putting a blue Maruti car through the paces of an ‘H' test to qualify for a driving license.
With a nod to young cinematographer Shehnad Jalal, Arun okays the shot and the cast and crew take a break for dosa and chutney.
New narrative style
“‘Ee Adutha Kaalathu' is an adrenalin-inducing, rollercoaster thriller of a movie; one in which the strange becomes familiar and the familiar, strange. For instance, a knife that you use to cut an apple for breakfast could perhaps end someone's life later on in the day,” says Arun, as he takes a breather over a cup of black tea. Now that's quite cryptic, morbid even…
(Laughs) “Absolutely! Murali Gopy has written the script of the film in such a way that it's like piecing together a complex puzzle bit by bit, in reel terms, literally shot by shot. Nothing is as ordinary as it seems. It's a great story told in a fast-paced, genre-bending narrative style that hinges on unpredictability,” adds Arun, director Priyadarshan's regular editor, who debuted as a filmmaker with the spirited ‘Cocktail.'
Essentially, ‘Ee Adutha Kaalathu' is the story of six individuals – Vishnu (Indrajith), Tom Cherian (Anoop Menon), Ajay Kurien (Murali Gopy), Remani (Mydhili), Madhuri Kurien (Tanushri), and Rustam (Nishan) – from a cross-section of society, all of whom are unwittingly interconnected by a quirk of fate.
“Vishnu ekes out a living by making toys and other items out of scrap, and with this skill he provides for his wife, Remani, two young daughters, and his ailing mother. He is a guy caught up in the troubles of everyday life, and one day, due to some extraordinary events, his life spins out of control,” says Indrajith.
The actor seems to be thrilled with the character, and, of course, the film itself. “It's great that directors such as Arun, Lijo Jose Pellisherry, and Rajesh Pillai are stepping out of the box to make a different kind of cinema. This collective approach for change is exciting for Malayalam cinema and challenging for actors too. My character in ‘Ee Adutha Kaalathu' is very unsophisticated, when compared to the suave role of businessman Ajay Kurien – the managing director of a hospital – played by Murali, or for that matter tech-savvy assistant police commissioner-with-an-attitude played by Anoop. And that's the challenge of it. Besides, I am a native of Thiruvananthapuram, and for the first time in my career I'm delivering dialogues in its typical slang!” adds Indrajith.
Bengali model and theatre actor Tanushri, who is debuting in Mollywood, seems equally excited. She dons the role of Ajay's wife. “Madhuri is a strong character and not the arm-candy kind at all. She is ambitious but very down-to-earth. My only issue is the language, but then again acting is all about expression, isn't it?” says Tanushri, as she jabbers away in Hindi to Nishan who plays Rustham, a rather mysterious North Indian salesman. For the first time in Nishan's Mollywood career, the Coorgi actor is dubbing for the role himself.
Besides the six main characters, Jagathy's role – that of a sleazy tabloid reporter Bonacaud Ramachandran – is also quite significant, providing a bit of comic relief here and there.
Moreover, Thiruvananthapuram too is a major character in the story. “It's a city with over 1,500 years of heritage and if you open your eyes it has many stories of its own to tell,” says Arun, as the crew pack up to continue the shoot at KINFRA.
‘Ee Adutha Kaalathu' is being produced by Raju Malliyath under the banner of Ragam Movies. Gopi Sundar is composing the music, to lyrics by Rafeeq Ahmed. Still photographer is Jijesh.
Keywords: Malayalam cinema