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A home of our own

Nita Sathyendran
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On Location Director Aji John's ‘Namukku Parkkan,' starring Anoop Menon, is the tale of a family man who dreams of building his own house. Nita Sathyendran

They were not a ‘pair' in V.K. Prakash's ‘Beautiful,' but everybody wanted them to be one. Now, director Aji John of ‘Nallavan' fame unites the ‘Beautiful' couple of Anoop Menon and Meghana Raj for his latest film, ‘Namukku Parkkan,' the shooting of which is progressing in and around rustic Killiyode and Vandanoor on the outskirts of Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram district.

The location for the day is a ramshackle one-story house in Killiyode that's painted a shabby green. The entire crew – and a fair number of onlookers too – are packed into its miniscule front yard where the spotlight is on actors Parvathy and Nandu. Parvathy, who is holding a tumbler of piping hot tea, looks quite forlorn as Nandu berates her and gesticulates angrily in the direction of what seems to be a half-finished quail coop. Director Aji John, who is watching the proceedings on a monitor, appears satisfied with the take, and a “Cut” booms out of his hand-held microphone.

Family entertainer

“‘Namukku Parkkan' is a family entertainer, one that is reminiscent of Malayalam cinema of the late 80s and 90s when it focussed on easily relatable tales of the failures and triumphs of ordinary people, leading ordinary lives – Sathyan Anthikkad's ‘T.P. Balagopalan M.A.,' being an example. It narrates the story of a veterinarian named Rajeevan (Anoop), a do-gooder, who dreams of building his own house. But he doesn't want a simple house; instead, he wants the whole works – a mansion surrounded by extensive acerage, complete with a vegetable garden, orchard, and even a cow shed. How he goes about it is the novelty of the storyline,” explains Aji, as he waits for the crew finish prepping for the next shot.

Nandu and Parvathy soon get back into position for the next shot. Aji calls for a rehearsal and into the frame walks Anoop Menon, dressed in a striped shirt and jeans, with sporty red-framed spectacles and a leather satchel looped over his shoulder. The actor gives Parvathy a comforting pat on her shoulder, declines her offer of tea, opens his satchel, and takes out a wad of cash. Immediately Nandu adopts a contrite expression and gleefully pockets the cash.

“The scene shows the generous side of Rajeevan. He loans Rs. 50,000 to his loser brother-in-law Sukumaran, after the latter demands help to start a business, rearing quails. Although, Rajeevan had earmarked the money for his dream home, he happily gives it up hoping that it will ultimately benefit his sister, Nirmala,” says Aji, after the shot is canned and the cast and crew break for afternoon tea.

A do-gooder

Over a glass of black tea, Anoop gushes about his new role. “Dr. Rajeevan is every Malayali who has ever dreamt of building a house. He lives with his wife, Renuka (Meghana), and their two daughters; but he has voluntarily taken on the responsibility of providing for his extended family, including his three brothers, his sister, and their families, even building them houses. And because of that there is always a bump in the road when it comes to seeing his own dream house come through. The story is set in a thoroughly middle class milieu and my character doesn't face travails/tragedies with regard to red-tapism, green strip, or any other issue that prospective homeowners may face. It's a simple, clean, feel-good story,” says the actor.

And his pairing with Meghana? “We seem to share a great chemistry. If ‘Beautiful' left me as a broken-hearted lover, in this one I've got the girl!” he says with a laugh. The actor has also written lyrics for three songs in the film, and is hoping to recreate the magic of his combo with composer Ratheesh Vega.

‘Namukku Parkkan,' which will reach screens this May, is being produced by Joy Thomas Shaktikulangara under the banner of Jithin Arts. S.B. Preejith cranks the camera. Stills are by Shajil Obscura.

‘Namukku Parkkan' is a family entertainer, one that is reminiscent of Malayalam cinema of the late 80s and 90s

Aji John

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