Scriptwriter Hashir Mohamed says his days on the road scripted his latest in Malayalam cinema – Sameer Thahir’s Neelakasham Pachcha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi
Hashir Mohamed is an unlikely film personality-in-the-making. In a profession that feeds on hype, he confesses that excessive hype makes him nervous. Tell him that there is no such thing as too much hype; that it is inevitable when you have scripted one of the most anticipated films of the year directed by Sameer Thahir and starring Dulquer Salman — he disagrees. He wants the film, Neelakasham Pachcha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi (NPKCB), to do the talking. The film, a bildungsroman, is about the protagonist’s bike ride to the North East. The hype surrounding the film is intimidating, he says. Some would call it a first timer’s nervousness, but then he is no first-timer.
Hashir scripted Anwar Rasheed’s film, Ami, in Amal Neerad’s ensemble offering, 5 Sundarikal. The road-movie, which charts Fahadh Faasil’s drive from Malappuram to Kochi and all that happens to him along the way, was noticed for its ‘difference’. “Technically NPKCB is my first script; only that 5 Sundarikal was released earlier. We were on a schedule break, of NPKCB early this year. That’s when Ami happened. I pitched my idea to Anwar-ikka, he liked it and it was on,” he says over the phone from Chennai.
Through the last 10 months Hashir has seen plenty of action — he has gone from working for Deutsche Bank in Singapore to becoming a scenarist. As a student, he was interested in films and nursed a dream to ‘try something’ in films. These films are a fruition of that dream. After completing his engineering in 2006 from the College of Engineering Trivandrum (CET), Hashir worked with companies such as Accenture in Chennai and Nokia in Helsinki before winding up in Singapore and scripting NPKCB.
He refutes suggestions that the film is ‘inspired’ by the other coming-of-age, cult film The Motorcycle Diaries. “It is not.” He then admits that he is a biker. Prod him further, as one has to through the entire course of the chat, and he says, “I have been riding for a long time. I rode up to Delhi, Goa and the North-eastern States too.” He likes travelling and the road movies are the result of his experiences. So then, was it love that took him to the North East? “No,” pat comes the reply, “but the rest of it is what I have seen as a student. The campus, its politics, its friendships… I would rather write about things I am familiar with.” In fact, the film’s name is inspired by Hashir’s own bike ride to Delhi from Chennai through the Western Ghats. “I have seen it,” he says. Besides “the name has different dimensions — apart from the landscape those are primary colours and when these come together to create white. These create a canvas on the mind.”
The 28-year-old avers that his is a dream debut — working with two reputed names in contemporary Malayalam cinema. Ami happened because he was already involved in the making of NPKCB. How did he, who hails from far away Kottakkal, end up with a debut such as this? He says that once he had the script ready, he waited for three months to meet Sameer Thahir. “I met him through a friend. The reason I approached him is I somehow knew he was the only one who could have done this film, and one of the few who would have shown any interest in the idea. And I hadn’t approached anybody else. Instead, I just waited for three months to meet him. He took up the idea despite the risk involved.” Once Dulquer committed, the film was on. And the rest is for the box office to decide.