He is one of the few directors in Malayalam cinema who has managed to strike gold at the box office with critically acclaimed films. He may have missed the ingredients here and therein a few flicks. But, overall, this director’s strike rate is incredibly high in the risk-ridden Malayalam film industry. We are talking about Lal Jose, who has won the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Director for his film Ayalum Njanum Thammil.

Many of his films have created a dialogue between the viewer and the main characters in his film. Last year, he made two gems that won rave reviews and also had the producers in raptures – Diamond Necklace and Ayalum Njanum Thammil. Both had contemporary themes that struck a chord with viewers of all ages.

But, finally, it was Ayalum Njanum Thammil, which narrated the story of a doctor becoming a healer that has won him the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Director.It has also won the awards for the best film with popular appeal and aesthetic value and the best actor for Prithviraj, his second one.

“Although many of my films have been in the running for the award, I usually miss it by a whisker. So, this time too, I sent the film to the awards committee without too many expectations. I sent it mostly for the sake of the crew and the cast of my film. Never did I expect to get the award for the best director. So it is doubly pleasing,” says Lal.

The director says that it is certainly a great honour to have won the award from among 80-odd films that were seen by the jury. He feels that the burden of expectation does not hamper his filmmaking but it has certainly played a role when it comes to awards. “When some of my movies missed the award, I was told that it was because they expected much more from a Lal Jose film. So, yes, that is a burden indeed,” he admits.

Lal says he has no clue what makes a film score with the viewers and the critics since the same amount of hard work goes into the making of all the films he makes. Written by scenarist duo Sanjay and Bobby, Ayalum Njanum Thammil was produced by Prem Prakash and it also has yesteryear hero Pratap Pothen in a memorable role.

Lal is, at present, busy with the post-production work of Immanuel, his latest film.

And now Immanuel is bound to be the cynosure of all eyes.