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A coup by debutant director

Rosshan Andrrews proves that he is a path-breaker with his directorial debut, `Udayananu Tharam.' The film, a black comedy that satirises tinsel town, is turning out to be a blockbuster, says SREEDHAR PILLAI.

'Udayananu Tharam' ... drawing the crowds to the theatres.'

`UDAYANANU THARAM,' directed by debutant Rosshan Andrrews (numerologically spelled), asserts that the creator is a path-breaking director. After many years of prattle about `new' cinema within the commercial format, `Udayananu Tharam' gives some substance to the contention that Malayalam cinema has come of age.

The most refreshing thing is that it is a genre film, a `black comedy,' rather than omnibus masala concoctions serving all the nine rasas.

`Udayananu Tharam' reinforces this faith, as the rapier-sharp synergy between the lead actors Mohanlal and Sreenivasan along with top-line performance of the supporting cast brings the narrative to life. However, it is Sreenivasan's script which is the ultimate scene-grabber. It is a light-hearted comedy that takes a satirical look at tinsel town.

It depicts the struggles of Udayabhanu, brilliantly portrayed by Mohanlal, who is an assistant director and script writer and who aspires to make it big. But he is thwarted in his attempts by a scheming friend and junior artiste, Rajappan Thengamoodu ( Sreenivasan ), who steals his script to become superstar Saroj Kumar.

`Udayananu Tharam' is nothing more than a look at the seamy side of filmmaking and the machinations behind the reel world.

The film works because Rosshan Andrrews chooses to talk about a world he knows personally. The characters look real and the conversation sounds real. The film sails through because of its sense of humour and a riveting climax.

`Udayananu Tharam' is turning out to be a mega blockbuster (see box) as each shot and concept of Rosshan Andrrews works wonders and the audience is totally hooked on the way the story unfolds and reaches its logical climax with a twist.

Sreenivasan and Rosshan started the shoot only after completing the script.

Says Sreenivasan: ``We took nearly two years to complete the script but all that time, energy and hard work shows on screen.''

Mohanlal asserts that `Udayananu Tharam' is a triumph of honest writing.

But Sreenivasan confesses that it (the achievement) is a result of team work and not his script alone.

Says Sreenivasan: ``What about Mohanlal's finely calibrated performance, Rosshan's shots, S. Kumar's realistic camera work, Deepak Dev's music, Ouseppachan's background score and above all the superb performance from the supporting cast of Meena, Jagathy, Mukesh and Salim Kumar - all are in remarkable sync.''

There is a bit of Rosshan Andrrews in `Udayananu Tharam' as he was a struggling assistant director like the protagonist, Udayabhanu.

Rosshan had the story ready nearly three years ago but no producer came forward as they thought that a film on the tinsel world would never click.

Finally he narrated the story to Sreenivasan, who wrote the script, and introduced him (Rosshan) to Karunakaran, the producer of the film. Sreenivasan also helped to rope in Mohanlal, who agreed to play Udayan.

Says Rosshan: ``We had a full script before the shoot and each scene was visualised with sketches which made my work easy.''

Sreenivasan says, ``I will give full credit to Rosshan as he is able to conceptualise the script and give life to it. Remember that M. T. Vasudevan Nair's scripts have clicked only with good directors.''

Creating a record

`UDAYANANU THARAM' has taken the biggest ever opening in the history of Malayalam cinema. The film has grossed Rs. 3.12 crores in two weeks from 41 screens in Kerala with a distributor's share of Rs 1.38 crores. Says producer and distributor Karunakaran: ``The film is definitely a blockbuster and crowds are increasing day by day due to the positive feedback by word of mouth and added to that, there are repeat audiences.'' At Ernakulam Shenoys theatre `Udayananu Tharam' has broken all existing records and grossed Rs. 19,80,000 in 17 days.

Suresh Shenoy of Shenoy's Cinemax says, `Udayananu Tharam' took a fantastic opening and no one has said a bad word about it. ' Even in B stations like Manjeri in Malappuram district, the film is creating new records.

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