Movies

‘Eeda’, an intense love story

Scene from Eeda

Scene from Eeda  

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B. Ajithkumar’s Eeda, releasing today, is a story of a romance that blossoms amidst the embers of a feud between two families

Love, longing and loss is the leitmotif of Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, a tale that has inspired thousands of adaptations, all of which hinge on youthful effervescence and primordial feuds. Film editor-turned-director B. Ajithkumar’s Eeda, inspired by the story of a love that knows no barriers, takes place in Kannur. His Romeo and Juliet are Anand and Aiswariya.

Having worn many caps for different kinds of films, Ajith says he was not unduly worried about occupying the director’s chair for Eeda. The multiple award-winning film editor’s rich experience stood him in good stead when it came to calling the shots for his maiden directorial venture.

In the present

He says the film is called Eeda as it is about the contemporary situation in Kannur. “The ‘here and now’ in Kannur,” says the laconic Ajith who lets his work speak for him. After a sleepless night in the studio, Ajith requires quite a bit of prodding to get him talking about his film that has been produced by Collective Phase, a group of filmmakers in Kerala who are at the forefront of a new wave of realism in Malayalam cinema. In fact, Ajith has edited almost all the films produced by the Collective Phase.

B. Ajithkumar

B. Ajithkumar   | Photo Credit: S. GOPAKUMAR

Scripted and directed by him, Eeda, Ajith says, took less than a year to complete. He began working on the script in December last and he insists that writing or directing the story did not really put him through the wringer as he had been intensely involved in the production of several films and documentaries from start to finish. “I had a rough script but it was not one of those bound scripts with everything written down. There was a lot of improvisation during the shooting. But, yes, there was a big difference between Eeda and the other films I had worked in. Here the decision making was all mine; there were technical decisions to be taken, shots to be framed… Taking those final calls was a responsibility,” he adds.

Eeda narrates a love story in the time of political strife and conflict between two families in Kannur. “They belong to the same faith, caste, economic and social strata but politics is the spoilsport that divides the families of the two youngsters, Anand and Aiswariya,” narrates Ajith.

The trailers with Shane Nigam (Anand) and Nimisha Sajayan (Aiswarya) in the lead roles have already been creating the right traction on social media and a Collective Media production now has its own dedicated audience, especially amongst the youth. “Shane was, I thought, the best person to play Anand. We wanted a young actor in his twenties but an experienced one. As such, he was apt for the role. But we took some time to find Aiswariya and had called for auditions to select an actor. It was during that period that Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum was released and Rajeev Ravi was convinced that Nimisha was ideal for the role. That is how we cast her opposite Shane. I am happy with their work,” he says.

Shot in Mysore and Kannur among other places, Eeda has been filmed by Pappu, who had also been the cinematographer of Njan Steve Lopez.

As both of them had to speak the rustic Kannur dialect, Ajith decided to go in for dubbing instead of sync sound. Shane and Nimisha had to learn to speak the dialect of the region. “But since both of them come from the middle class, theirs is not the rural dialect that is spoken in the region,” clarifies Ajith.

The three songs in the film have been composed by John Varkey, Chandran Veyattummal and Saju Sreenivas.

As the movie releases today, Ajith says he is not biting his nails or tearing out his hair on account of the tension. “I am happy with the outcome and have no qualms about requesting people to watch the film,” he says.

And then? “And then it is back to the editing table for Rajeev’s untitled film and Geethu Mohandas’s Muthoon,” says Ajith, neatly bringing the conversation to a conclusion. The right cut!

New direction

A graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India, Ajith says that he wrote the entrance to gain admission to the blue chip institution because a number of his friends were doing the same. “My aim was to get into the direction course. But that year, direction was not offered as a course. It became a diploma that could be pursued after one finished graduation. By then I had got into the editing course and though they reinstated direction as a course the next year, I never went back to do a course in direction. However, I did want to direct films at some point in my career,” admits Ajith. Nevertheless, unlike some filmmakers, he says the film’s story was not one that he had been carrying with him for a long time or been longing to see on screen.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 6:31:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/eeda-a-story-of-love-set-in-the-time-of-political-chaos/article22367624.ece

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