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Social media helps movies reach viewers, says Mollywood director M Padmakumar

M Padmakumar

M Padmakumar   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The filmmaker talks about the big-budget ‘Mamangam’ and his filmography over the years

Director M Padmakumar is busy with the final stages of making Mamangam, a multilingual period drama with Mammootty in the lead. Padmakumar, who made his directorial début with Ammakkilikkoodu in 2003, has made some notable movies such as Vaasthavam, Vargam, Parunthu and Shikkar. His previous release, Joseph, turned out to be a box-office success. Mamangam was being directed by Sajeev Pillai when he was suddenly replaced by Padmakumar. The filmmaker shares his thoughts about the movie and more in an interview with FridayReview... Edited excerpts:

You were an assistant director in Mammootty’s Oru Vadakkan Veeragadha (1989). How does it feel to direct him now in another period drama?

In fact, I was not even an assistant director but perhaps an apprentice in Oru Vadakkan Veeragadha, watching the proceedings from a distance. Never in my wildest dreams did I know then that I would be directing Mammookka in Mamangam 30 years later.

What is Mamangam about?

The shooting is almost over and we are progressing with the post-production works. We hope to release it later this year. First of all, viewers should not expect a Baahubali or a Pazhassi Raja as Mamangam is, in a way, the story of a failed hero. Of course, the story is thrilling and has all the elements of an entertainer. The focus is on the life of people considered below the ruling classes in the social hierarchy of those times.

How exciting is it for a filmmaker to recreate an event like Mamangam, which was in vogue three centuries ago?

The key was in re-creating the locations, which needed to look convincing from a historical perspective and be cinematic at the same time. I am quite thrilled about what the team has done.

Mammootty in a still from Mamangam

Mammootty in a still from Mamangam   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

You were not the original choice to direct Mamangam and took over the mantle later?

I don’t want to get into the controversy. I have done Mamangam completely as my cinema and have taken up the responsibilities entrusted in me with sincerity. I have been given full freedom by the producer. Our efforts have only been to bring out a good cinema.

There have been discussions about your involvement in Odiyan...

My role in Odiyan was limited to planning and coordination. I have not done anything on its creative side and it is totally Shrikumar Menon’s film.

Your last film, Joseph, was well-appreciated...

The acceptance for Joseph is heartening as it was made without any big stars or a top banner. It was mainly Joju George’s conviction and sincerity that worked for the movie, which he produced as well.

There was criticism about the way organ donation was depicted in Joseph...

There was a statement from a doctor that sparked off a debate. All I want to say is that we were only exploring a particular aspect of a process. Such criticism comes at times. There are cops as villains in some movies but that doesn’t mean the entire police force is shown in a bad light.

Some of your movies, Vaasthavam for instance, are being discussed now more than it was during the time of their release?

I do agree. Vaasthavam was not received so well at theatres. Social media is playing an important role these days and I feel movies like Vaasthavam or Vargam would have been accepted if they were made now. It is easier to take a movie to the viewer now, with the help of social media.

How do you handle setbacks?

Obviously, it is quite tough to face failure but I believe that shouldn’t deter a filmmaker beyond a point. When we attempt something different, it may not always be successful. Though I don’t want to name any, some of the movies I did were not the kind of projects I should have done.

What next?

It’s all about Mamangam now. Once it is wrapped up, I am planning to start a project with Asif Ali and Suraj Venjaramoodu in the lead.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 9:15:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/director-m-padmakumar-talks-about-the-big-budget-mamangam-and-his-filmography-over-the-years/article28348207.ece

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