Dawn has just given way to early morning sunlight and the village of Mulanthuruthy in Ernakulam district is just waking up. But on the set of Jeethu Joseph’s latest film My Boss, which is being shot in the village, it’s already a beehive of activity. On the steps leading to a temple pond, the film’s lead pair, Dileep and Mamta Mohandas, is facing the camera for a montage shot.
Dileep, dressed in a casual t-shirt, dhoti and a monkey-cap, is urging a sari-clad Mamta to take a dip in the pond. When she hesitates Dileep simply pushes her into the pond and walks away grinning!
“My Boss is about the encounters between the managing director of a Mumbai-based software firm and her assistant. Mamta plays the role of Priya, the fiery boss, who is strict when it comes to discipline in the office, and Dileep plays the role of her hapless assistant, Manu. The root of their differences lie in their upbringings. While Priya was born and brought up in Australia, Manu hails from a village in Alappuzha,” says Jeethu, who had directed Detective and Mummy & Me.
“It’s a clash of cultures, which is being told in a humorous way. At a particular juncture in the story, Priya finds herself in need of Manu’s help. Manu, meanwhile, agrees to help her – but with an ulterior motive, of course. He thinks it’s a great opportunity to pay his boss back for tormenting him. Things become even more interesting when the duo is forced to visit his home in Alappuzha,” he says.
Suddenly, a drizzle interrupts the proceedings and the director decides that the cast and crew can take a break until the sky clears. Unmindful of the rain, Dileep takes cover underneath a large umbrella and lounges on the steps in a corner of the picturesque pond. “For Manu, this job is really important and he is ready to do anything to retain it,” says Dileep. “Some people are just never happy with what they have, even though what they have is great, and instead, insist on running after pipe dreams. Manu is one such character. His aim in life is to get a job abroad while Priya is desperate to settle down in India,” adds the actor.
A little later it is sunny again, and the cast and crew get on with work. Mamta is actually shivering when she comes out of the cold water. For this scene she has to pray with folded hands and then move out of the frame. The shot is canned in the first take itself.
The actor then hurries to change out of her wet clothes and is soon dressed in a similar sari. “Of course, I can relate to the character to a certain extent because in real life I grew up abroad, before entering the film industry. In the story the attempts at one-upmanship between Manu and Priya is actually very funny. While my character tries to get the better of him in the first half, it is just the opposite in the second half,” says Mamta.
Sai Kumar, Seetha, Kalabhavan Shajon, Valsala Menon and Master Jeevan also play major roles in the film. The main locations for the film are Mumbai, Alappuzha and Kochi.
My Boss is being produced by East Coast Vijayan. The cinematographer is Anil Nair and the music director is Sejo John. Stills are by Abhilash Narayanan.