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Scripting blockbusters

Vijay George
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Interview Scriptwriters Siby K. Thomas and Udayakrishna on their formula for success. Their latest film, ‘Christian Brothers,' releases on March 18. Vijay George

T his duo has proved time and time again that they can set the box office on fire with their scripts. Last year, scenarists Siby K. Thomas and Udayakrishna struck gold at the box office with the action-packed ‘Pokkiri Raja' (directed by Vyshakan with Mammootty and Prithviraj in the lead) and the comic caper ‘Karyasthan' (directed by Thomson with Dileep in the lead).

In 2011, they can look forward to the same with the multi-starrer ‘Christian Brothers,' directed by veteran Joshiy, which stars bigwigs like Mohanlal, Dileep, Suresh Gopi, Sarath Kumar, Kavya Madhavan, Lakshmi Rai, Kaniha and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, to name a few. And after a few off-screen glitches, the film looks all set to release on March 18.

Family drama

‘“Christian Brothers' is a family drama that goes through several twists and turns. Mohanlal's character, Christie, a high profile police informer in Mumbai, belongs to a prestigious family called Palamattam. His younger brother, Joji, played by Dileep, shocks his family by leaving a seminary after he falls in love. We've weaved in various characters into the story in an interesting way,” say the duo.

Of course, the duo have had plenty of experience scripting multi-starrers, having scripted the blockbuster ‘Twenty 20' (also directed by Joshiy), which had an impressive line-up of Mollywood's top stars. “It had 60 actors who have played heroes at some point in their careers. But the main plot of the film has only two heroes. When we finally decided on the storyline, we connected every character in a way that suits their image. We tried bringing in maximum number of characters in every scene,” they explain.

Both Siby and Udayakrishna started their stint in films as assistant directors. Siby assisted Balu Kiriyath and Sandhya Mohan while Udayakrishna worked with Ali Akbar, K. Madhu and Venu B. Nair. It was actor Manoj K. Jayan who prodded them into a reel partnership and agreed to star in their directorial debut.

However, that project did not work out. Subsequently, they wrote their first script, ‘Hitler Brothers,' for director Sandhya Mohan, followed by ‘Mayajaalam' for Balu Kiriyath. Both films failed at the box office. Their first hit was ‘Mattuppetti Machan' directed by Jose Thomas, but it was ‘Udayapuram Sulthan' with Dileep as the hero that set cash registers ringing.

After a few setbacks, Dileep once again proved to be their lucky charm with the superhit ‘CID Moosa.'

The duo explain their script for success: “Frankly, we don't consider ourselves to be great writers. We believe that writing for cinema is based on certain formulae. We try to get the audience involved in the storyline 10 minutes into the film, followed by a song, a fight, comedy sequences and so on. We know that our scripts are over the top. We're just trying all kinds of whatever gimmicks to make the films successful.”

They take care to choose stories that can communicate easily with the viewers. “This formula helps to reach out to the audience more effectively. Of course, all such formulaic storylines stand the risk of having a limited life span in public memory,” say the duo.

“Our mantra is to make sure that those who have invested money in the film get maximum returns and those who pay for the ticket get entertained. We are limiting our experiments to the stars and their stardom as of now,” add the duo.

Siby and Udayakrishna plan to take their reel partnership further and make their directorial debut next year with ‘Arakkallan Mukkalkkallan' starring Mammootty and Mohanlal as thieves. “The film will only happen if the two superstars have the required dates. Dileep will play the role of a Hindu priest in it.” Their scripts for ‘Mr. Marumakan,' ‘My Name is Avarachan,' both starring Dileep, and an untitled Mohanlal film are also ready.


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