Ayalum Njaanum Thammil, Lal Jose’s new film which reaches theatres today, promises to be more than a prescription for an aimless doctor.

Lal Jose’s Ayalum Njaanum Thammil is not what the promos, the trailer and the song sequence hint at – another film on the medical profession. Glimpses of life on the campus, fun, friendship and romance are all there. But it is more about the value of human relationships and its breakdown, which is narrated through the lives of two doctors.

Produced by Prem Prakash under his banner of Prakash Movie Tone, and written by his sons Bobby and Sanjay, this film is set to reach theatres today.

“I had listened to this story some six to seven years ago and was bowled over by its intensity. I’m one who firmly believes that a film must linger in the heart long after you leave the theatre. That’s what happened to my Peruvazhiambalam or Koodevide. I told Bobby and Sanjay that I wanted the story and would make this into a movie once I got the funds ready. It took a long time but it was worth the wait,” says Prem who plays a cameo in the movie.

Bobby and Sanjay kept updating the script and had a clear idea about the actors who would play some of the key roles. “We had told Prithviraj about this story sometime in 2005 for we had him in mind as the protagonist, a doctor. The story goes through two distinct phases in his life, his relationships, and his experiences. It is a challenging role, and from the rushes we feel that Prithviraj has done very well. We think this will be ranked amongst the best he has done so far,” feel Bobby and Sanjay.

Lal Jose who is working with Bobby and Sanjay for the first time was quite impressed by the story and amused by Bobby’s anxiety. “Scriptwriters are usually very sensitive about their work. But Bobby was different. I felt he was very possessive about the story and anxious about how it would look on celluloid. Again, I usually do the casting in my films. In this case Bobby and Sanjay had already decided on some actors. And their choice was perfect. It showed how involved they were in their story,” explains Lal.

Sanjay reveals that the story was very close to Bobby’s heart as it touched on his own ‘life’s experiences.’ “Bobby is a doctor and most of what we say in the film is based intimately on his experiences as a medical student and as a qualified medical practitioner. I have always felt that as a doctor he has gone through very different relationships. He, like most doctors, deals with abnormalities and passes through varied relationships. But that does not mean the film is overtly serious.”

No wonder Bobby sounded excited and did not try to conceal it. “I was a bit worried about how Lal Jose would conceive the story visually. I was amazed by his work. I feel he has taken the story to a higher plane, emotionally and visually. He is one who never tramples on your freedom, he will listen patiently and yet his execution is independent of all that,” says Bobby.

Both of them avow that the main subject cannot be simply categorised as medical. “Of course, it is about the extraordinary events in the life of an aimless young doctor. And juxtaposed with this is the committed senior professional. But the emotions are universal, the relationships deep and complicated, the characters are multi-dimensional,” say Bobby and Sanjay.

In addition to Prithviraj, in the cast are Pratap Pothen, Narain, Samvrutha Sunil, Rima Kallingal, and Ramya Nambessan. “Each character is fully rounded. The story moves around and through them. Even some of the cameo roles like mine, or that of Salimkumar and Kalabhavan Mani are well sketched out and become integral to the story,” says Prem.

According to Bobby-Sanjay the highpoints of the film will be Prithviraj, in what is “his best role so far,” and “the beautiful cinematography by Jomon T. John, and sensitive music by Ouseppachan.” The lyrics are by Vayalar Sarathchandra Varma.

“A piece of advice, especially for the chronic latecomer – don’t miss the opening scene of the film. There’s every chance that you’ll miss the totality of the film,” say the scenarists.

Prem sums up: “We have worked sincerely, made no compromises. There may be flaws. Critics and the discerning audience can make their judgment.”

Now it’s over to the audience!

Seventeen and counting

This is film No. 17 for producer Prem Prakash and Lal Jose. The title of the film was suggested by Sanjay after a lot of deliberation and after Lal Jose set a firm deadline. Initially, the idea was to choose an English title, which the director did not approve of. Ayalum Njaanum Thammil is something everyone usually says when you talk of relationships and that’s how that stuck. For Prem, the Navaratri or Pooja season has often proved lucky. In 1983, Koodevide was released during this time, he remembers. This is the first film in which Lal Jose and music director Ouseppachan are working together.

This is the first time that Prem Prakash, as producer, is working with his sons Bobby and Sanjay, and with Lal Jose.