Movies

‘Forensic’ sees Tovino in the role of a medico-legal advisor, say directors Akhil Paul and Anas Khan

A still from ‘Forensic’

A still from ‘Forensic’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Mollywood film, which releases on February 28, focuses on a forensic officer and his scientific methods in helping solve a sensational case, say the newbie filmmakers

Whodunits never fail to pique interest. And Mollywood has a long list of gripping crime thrillers, with the CBI investigation series featuring the uber-cool sleuth Sethurama Iyer, played by Mammootty, being a shining example. But most often, such thrillers move forward from the perspective of police officers or astute detectives. Tovino Thomas-starrer Forensic, written and directed by Akhil Paul and Anas Khan, and releasing on February 28, shifts the focus towards a forensic officer and his scientific methods in helping solve a sensational case.

“A crime jolts a city and the police swing into action. A forensic officer, the protagonist of our story, joins the investigation team. The young medico-legal advisor realises he has a key role to play in tracking down the killer,” says Akhil, preferring to keep the details under wraps. “Once we came up with the one-liner idea, we realised it could be best narrated in the investigation format,” adds Anas. Forensic also marks the directorial début of Akhil and Anas, both engineers. Akhil, who earlier scripted neo-noir mystery thriller 7th Day with Prithviraj Sukumaran in the lead, says it’s a genre they both have interest in.

Directors Akhil Paul (left) and Anas Khan

Directors Akhil Paul (left) and Anas Khan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“The seed of the idea for Forensic germinated from a news report. We felt that we could develop an interesting yarn out of the incident. That’s when I realised that though there are quite a few investigation thrillers, the point of view of a forensic expert, a key person in several crime case solutions, was something unexplored in Malayalam. When Tovino, whom we became friends with during the shoot of 7th Day, heard the story, he loved it,” says Akhil. Forensic is also Tovino’s first release this year.

Despite the freshness of the perspective, Anas says the directors have not attempted to weave a story simply to fit into a forensic analysis background. “In fact, the process was the other way round. We wanted to narrate the story through such a backdrop and cherry-picked the forensic aspects required for the framework. Of course, it’s given a cinematic flourish as the film follows a commercial formula and equation,” points out Akhil.

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  • Kannur native Akhil and Anas from Pathanamthitta studied mechanical engineering together at TKM College of Engineering, Kollam, where their creative collaboration took wing.
  • “We are both movie buffs and spearheaded the formation of a film club in the college. That was also the time I was independently working on the script of 7th Day,” says Akhil. Lovers of mystery stories, they joined hands for a “big-budget project” after college, which, however, did not materialise. “But the collaboration helped blossom a creative rapport between us,” adds Anas. The duo says working together “helps us take better decisions.”

During the scripting, the directors sought pointers from the forensic team of the Kerala police to “refine” the screenplay. “We consulted experts at the Forensic Science Laboratory and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in the capital city for their inputs. We then showed the screenplay to subject experts for vetting and corrections, while maintaining that it, however, is a cinematic version,” explains Akhil. Earlier, the duo also sought “advice and inputs” from renowned forensic surgeon B Umadathan, known as the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Kerala’, who passed away last year.

Others in the cast include Mamta Mohandas, who plays an IPS officer, Reba Monica John, Renji Panicker, Saiju Kurup, Prathap Pothen and Srikant Murali. Shot mainly in Palakkad, Coimbatore and Chennai, the cinematography is by Akhil George. Music is scored by Jakes Bejoy and though Forensic “does not feature any songs in the traditional format”, Akhil points out that they have incorporated “lyrics-supported music snippets” to suit situations.

A still from ‘Forensic’

A still from ‘Forensic’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Akhil admits with a chuckle that perhaps expectations for Forensic are high in the light of box-office success of the recent crime thriller, Anjaam Pathiraa, but underlines that “the treatment” of the former is quite different. As a genre, he feels crime and investigative thrillers always command “an undying interest” from cine-goers, citing P Padmarajan’s Mammooty-starrer mystery thriller Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu and 1990 film Mukham featuring Mohanlal as big inspirations.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 5:23:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/forensic-sees-tovino-in-the-role-of-a-medico-legal-advisor-say-directors-akhil-paul-and-anas-khan/article30930137.ece

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