In conversation with Geetu Mohandas

Nivin in the first-look poster of Moothon, to be directed by Geetu Mohandas   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Actor-director Geetu Mohandas returns to Malayalam cinema, this time as a filmmaker. The director of critically acclaimed Liar’s Dice, which was India’s official entry for the Oscars in 2015, returns with a new film in Malayalam, which also happens to be her first feature film venture in the language.

In conversation with Geetu Mohandas

Geetu, however, is taking it cautiously and refuses to be carried away by the hype. Titled Moothon, the film stars Nivin Pauly in the lead. The first-look poster of the film shows a rough and tough, bearded Nivin with a scarred eyebrow, a nose ring and an ear ring. “Moothon means elder brother in the Lakshadweep slang and the movie is about a teenager’s search for his elder brother. As soon as the script was finished, the first name that came to my mind to play the role was Nivin’s. He has been doing interesting roles in mainstream cinema and I am looking forward to work with him. You will have to ask him to find out what he thinks about acting in my film,” says Geetu.

To be shot in Lakshadweep and Mumbai, the film’s casting is still going on.

“I am in no hurry and shooting will begin only in April. I want to take enough time and not be hurried into a film. It will be ready only by next year,” she says on phone.

Geetu says she wants to ensure that she gets the right people to breathe life into her characters.

Scripted by her, the movie’s script was one of the five scripts chosen by Sundance Lab from applications received from all over the world. Earlier, it was titled as Inshallah.

“It also received the Global Filmmaking award at the Sundance Film Festival. Perhaps I am the only Asian to bag the award. So yes, I am excited about my film but I am more apprehensive because I make no compromises in my filmmaking. So, I hope Malayali audiences watch the film and encourage me so that I can make more films in Malayalam,” she says.

Her Facebook post introduces her “exceptional crew members”, which includes husband, “Rajeev Ravi (he doesn’t have a choice), Ajithkumar Balagopalan, Kunal Sharma, Wasiq Khan, Sneha Khanwalkar, Govind Menon, Riyas Komu [and] Sunil Rodrigues”. Anurag Kashyap has pitched in to collaborate with her and write the dialogues in Hindi.

“I read in some reports that Anurag is directing the film in Hindi and all that. No, he is writing the dialogues in Hindi as the character goes to Mumbai to search for his brother. So, naturally, Hindi dialogues would be part of the script,” she explains.

She says it was the warm reception to Rajeev Ravi’s films that has encouraged her to conceptualise a film in Malayalam. Last year, Rajeev’s Kammattipaadam was one of the most celebrated movies in more ways than one. The film had made no allowances for sops such as item dances or songs to deviate the audience’s attention from the gritty and harsh tale of a city’s transformation.

“I come from the same school of filmmaking and so I thought that this would be a good time to make a film that would not compromise on aesthetic values but at the same time do complete justice to the theme and the story,” says Geetu.

The director’s apprehension also stems from the fact that not many in Kerala or for that matter in India have seen her Liar’s Dice. Asked why it was not screened in any of the film festivals in Kerala, she explains that after the movie premiered at the Sundance Festival, the producers had sent the film to several festivals where it had made a mark with its sensitive theme and sterling acts. Both the leads actors Geethanjali Thapa and Nawazuddin Siddiqui had won the national awards for the best actress and actor respectively.

Geetu had earlier directed a short film in Malayalam, Kelkkunnundo.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 4:55:46 AM |

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