Cinema As ‘Oru Naal Varum' reaches theatres today, the film's director, T.K. Rajeevkumar, and its script writer, Sreenivasan, talk about the making of the film. Saraswathy Nagarajan

F inally the day has come. Film director T.K. Rajeevkumar's much-awaited ‘Oru Naal Varum' reaches theatres today. Right from day one, the film had created waves of excitement because it was being scripted by none other than Sreenivasan and it had the unbeatable tag of being a Mohanlal-Sreenivasan starrer. The two are acting together in a film after the stupendous success of ‘Udayanannu Tharam.' Accusations of plagiarism and the delayed release of the film have not dulled the anticipation for the film, which also has the distinction of being Sameera Reddy's maiden venture in Malayalam.

Produced by Maniyan Pillai Raju, the film tackles corruption that has seeped into all facets of our life. “Often, we fail to perceive it as corruption as it has insidiously become a part of our life; something we take for granted. The story of a man who is made to run from pillar to post for various sanctions to build a house is only a frame for a story on graft and its many ramifications,” says Rajeev.

On relationships

He adds that along with the main theme of the film, there is also a parallel, contemporary discussion on what happens to relationships in the fast lane of life. “Although the issues dealt with are serious and complex, it is narrated in a lighter vein and against a family backdrop. It is also a tale of two families,” adds Rajeev.

Kulapally Sukumaran (Mohanlal) and his wife, Meera (Sameera Reddy) Gopi Krishnan (Sreenivasan) and his wife, Rajalaakshmi (Devayani), are the foursome whose lives are discussed in the film. Nedumudi Venu, Raju and Suraj Venjarmoodu don important roles in the film.

The multifaceted Sreenivasan emphasises that the script is in tune with his idea of filmmaking – which is to make movies that entertain and enlighten. “Much as I dislike mindless entertainment, I also hate the idea of a story that preaches. So I derive inspiration from real life but I strive to narrate that with a light touch and with large doses of humour,” explains Sreenivasan. According to him, ‘Oru Naal Varum' is about red tapism and bureaucratic buck-passing that entangle the common man in its tentacles. Dismissing charges of the film being lifted from someone's script, Sreenivsan says the film took nearly 18 months to be finalised. Rajeev points out that even the idea of the story unfolding in a corporation office was mooted because his parents had worked in a corporation office and he was familiar with the maze of rules and regulations in such an office.

Rajeev says he saw it as a challenge to make his first satire and that too with a talented star cast. He had last worked with Mohanlal in ‘Pavithram.'

Seasoned actors

“Sreeniavasan and Mohanlal are seasoned actors with a string of hits behind them. There is a rapport between them and so my job was not to overplay my hand. This was backed up by my technical crew as well. Cinematographer Manoj Pillai was focussed on the interplay between the actors instead of playing around with fancy lighting or camera work. We had a flexible approach that allowed them space for a great deal of improvisations,” says Rajeev.

Since the story's premise was a slice of real life, our attempt was to film it in such as way that the scenes looked anything but filmi, he adds. So the elaborate dance exercises have been done away with and the songs tuned by M.G. Sreekumar have been picturised in a realistic background. The film also marks the launch of a new lyricist Murugan Kattakada. In addition to the team of talented technicians and artistes, ‘Oru Naal Varum' marks the return of Malayalam films to theatres. And that is reason enough to celebrate.

Although the issues dealt with are serious and complex, it is narrated in a lighter vein and against a family backdrop.