‘Aabhaasam’, a social satire

Alencier Ley Lopez and Suraj Venjaramoodu in a scene from Aabhaasam

Alencier Ley Lopez and Suraj Venjaramoodu in a scene from Aabhaasam   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement


Jubith Namradath deliberates over society as a whole in his debut film, Aabhaasam

Jubith Namradath must have been ready for brickbats when he titled his debut film, Aabhaasam, which can mean anything from lewd and crude to immoral and shameless.... That was just the tip of the iceberg. An overenthusiastic mob stalled the shoot, misjudging the reel for real, and then came a tussle with the Censor Board. Although it was ready to reach theatres on Vishu, the date was postponed for want of enough releasing centres in Kerala.

Jubith Namradath

Jubith Namradath   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Jubith explains that Aabhaasam stands for Aarsha Bharatha Samskaram, referring to a glorious period of Indian culture. A social satire, the film holds a mirror to present-day society through an overnight bus journey from Bangalore to Thiruvananthapuram. “The bus belongs to Democracy Travels, which has a fleet of buses named after political figures — Gandhi, Jinnah, Marx, Godse and Ambedkar. The action happens in a bus called Gandhi. Passengers belonging to different strata of society and their lives unfold during the trip,” he says. The trailer has hints on what to expect when people with different perspectives and interests travel together.

“The film has its politics, but that doesn’t mean it propagates any ideology. We have portrayed the aspects and situations that we resist and how they affect our lives,” he points out.

The passengers

None of the passengers has names. In the cast are Alencier Ley Lopez as the driver and Suraj Venjaramoodu as the door checker. Among the passengers are Rima Kallingal, Indrans and Gilu Joseph. “Transgenders are now an integral part of society and so we have transgender activist Sheethal Shyam as one of the passengers. Mamukkoya’s character is not a traveller on the bus, but he makes his presence felt through telephone conversations. Nasser plays a police officer,” he narrates.

Rima Kallingal in a scene from Aabhaasam

Rima Kallingal in a scene from Aabhaasam   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Even when the film gives equal screen space to every character, a performance to be looked out for is that of Indrans’, Jubith adds. “The story moves through the mindscapes of three characters in the bus — of Rima’s, Indrans’ and Sheethal’s. Indrans chettan has never been treated in such a way on screen,” he adds.

Aabhaasam is more like an extension of his short film, Democracy: To Each His Own, a satire on democracy set during a bus journey, released in 2010. “I explored the possibilities of using the bus on a bigger canvas. With lot of things happening in the society, I worked on a story that eventually evolved as a feature film,” he says.

Cinema calling

An alumnus of Sainik School, Kazhakoottam, this Kannur-native has been a call centre employee, web designer and software engineer — “all in a span of five years”— before he took up direction. He made a few short films and worked as an associate in a Hindi film. “My short film Aathmam, was recognised at Vibgyor film festival in Thrissur and it was there that I met Kamal K.M., director of ID, who introduced me to Rajeev Ravi. The interactions with them inspired me when I set out to become an independent filmmaker. Rajeev supported me by allowing to use their banner, Collective Phase One,” he says. Mumbai-based Sanju Unnithan is producing Aabhaasam for Spire Productions.

Prasanna S. Kumar has done the cinematography. The songs have been composed and sung by Oorali band.

Looking back at the hurdles he has crossed, Jubith is relieved. “I am still alive! We dealt with everything very organically. In Bengaluru, we hired a bus, which was coloured green with a picture of Jinnah on it. Someone took a picture and posted it on social media, inviting wrath from all quarters. Luckily, this happened by the fag end of the shoot and thus we had a narrow escape,” he says.

What appalled him was that the Censor Board was ready to give the film only an A certificate, that too after several cuts and mutes, even though he insists that the film has no nudity, violence or vulgar dialogues. It was then taken before the review committee in Mumbai, where they wanted more scenes and dialogues to be chopped. The crew was relieved when the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal gave it the U/A certificate.

Jubith knows that once the movie releases, it is bound to elicit uproar from certain quarters. “I am keeping my fingers crossed...” he says.

The film releases on April 27.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics Thiruvananthapuram Movies
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 5:50:32 PM |

Next Story