Focus Jayaraj's ‘Pakarnnattam' explores the practice of political expediency that makes martyrs of innocents in the battle for political supremacy. Sabitha Jayaraj plays the main protagonist in the film. P.K. Ajith Kumar
N ine years after his remarkable work ‘Shantham,' film director Jayaraj returns to the disturbing world of political violence with ‘Pakarnattam.' ‘Shantham,' which had won the National award for the best film in 2001, had depicted with finesse the stark realities of violent clashes between political ideologies.
‘Pakarnnattam,' the director says, is not just a political film but it also explores the practice that makes martyrs of loyal political activists who are willing to sacrifice their life for the ideology they hold close to their hearts.
“It is also a poignant love story of a woman, her relentless fight against her own family and society for the man she loves,” he explains.
The director's wife, Sabitha Jayaraj, plays the role of the protagonist, Meera.
“After Jayaraj wrote the script of ‘Pakarnnattam,' he wanted my opinion about the script. The most striking feature about the script, I felt, was its heroine Meera, who came across as a strong woman. I told Jayaraj that the role required a capable, experienced actor,” says Sabitha. It came as a pleasant surprise to her when Jayaraj decided to cast her as Meera. A former student of acting of Barry John's academy in Mumbai, Sabitha had acted in minor roles in ‘Madhyavenal' and `Gulmohar.'
“But I didn't want to play such insignificant roles and that is why I did not act in any more films. Playing Meera is a dream come true,” she says.
Sabitha was nervous when she went to Payyannur for the filming for ‘Pakarnnattam' and she asked her husband for some time to prepare herself for the role. She did not want to act in the first scene on the very first day of the shooting. But Jayaraj brushed aside her apprehensions and she faced the camera on the first day of the shooting.
Apt for the character
And the camera rolled on without a hitch. “ I knew she would be apt for the role of Meera, ” says the director.
It was from real life that Jayaraj moulded the character of Meera.
“I had read in the newspapers about a woman who was kept a prisoner in her own home by her family because she loved a man who did not belong to her religion. In ‘Pakarnnattam,' Meera falls in love with Thomas, who becomes an accused in a political murder and is sent to jail. Although Thomas is innocent, he accepts the verdict against him for his political party,” says the director.
Along with Meera's battle to save Thomas, the film “makes a statement on the tragedy caused by the pesticide Endosulfan, in Kasaragod district. Thomas is an activist who fights for the rights of the victims of Endosulfan,” says Jayaraj.
Jayaram plays Thomas while Sudhi, another important character, is played by newcomer Abhimanyu. Jayaraj spotted the actor at a restaurant in Chennai.
‘Pakarnnattam' is produced by Ravi Kottarakkara under the banner of Ganesh Pictures.