Movies

‘Ee.Ma.Yau’ preview: A death and the events that follow

Chemban Vinod Jose and Kainakary Thangaraj in Ee. Ma. Yau

Chemban Vinod Jose and Kainakary Thangaraj in Ee. Ma. Yau   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

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Lijo Jose Pellissery’s ‘Ee. Ma. Yau’ is a satire that delves into matters of life and afterlife, all set in a coastal village

A brilliant revenge drama, an experimental crime thriller, a “divine comedy”, a spoof and a ‘katta local’ gangster flick — that’s Lijo Jose Pellissery’s oeuvre. The man and his craft have never failed to surprise the audience. So expectations are high when his new film, Ee. Ma. Yau., reaches theatres today.

The quirky title of the film and a posting on Lijo’s Facebook page: “I have never had a cinematic experience like Ee.Ma.Yau”, should be enough to pique a viewer’s curiosity.

Experimenting with tales

A filmmaker with a reputation for breaking new grounds with his scripts, story-telling, cast and milieu, Lijo says that it is all purely an organic process and not pre-planned. “The treatment of a movie depends on the script. However, I try not to repeat myself. If I stick to a particular pattern, the process becomes easy and I will lose interest.”

In Ee. Ma. Yau, Lijo is tackling a matter of ‘grave’ concern. The title is a contraction for ‘Eeso Mariyam Ouseppe’. “In certain Christian communities, these words are whispered into the ear of a person on his death bed. It is also printed on the top of the card announcing the funeral,” he explains.

Set in Chellanam in Kochi, the story revolves around the death of Vavachan Mesthiri in a coastal village. “The events unfold between two evenings. We look at different perspectives of death, a subject rarely explored in our films,” Lijo explains.

Lijo Jose Pellissery

Lijo Jose Pellissery   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The film was shot in just 18 days, a record in itself. “Our original schedule was for 35 days. But we could wind up everything in 18 days,” he says.

Going by the teasers, looks like there is bound to be a lot of laughs! “One can find humour in any situation and death is no exception. When we go to a house where there is a death, the state of mind of those close to the deceased person and that of the onlookers are totally different. In the movie, the humour is interlaced with the situations.”

Writer and scenarist P.F. Mathews has written the story and screenplay. “I don’t think anyone else could have done justice to that. It is unfortunate that we haven’t fully utilised the potential of a writer like him.”

He also speaks highly about the cast of the movie, especially Kainakary Thankaraj who plays the central character. A veteran theatre artiste, he had worked with Lijo’s father, the late Jose Pellissery, in his theatre troupe, Sarathi Theatres. A three-time state award winner, Thankaraj had played Kalabhavan Mani’s brother’s role in Amen. Another artiste to look out for is Pauly Valsan. “She too has not got her due in spite of being such a fine performer. Her slang and dialect was perfect for the character in the movie,” Lijo says.

A still from Ee. Ma. Yau

A still from Ee. Ma. Yau   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The familiar faces are Chemban Vinod Jose, Vinayakan and Dileesh Pothen. “I am working with Vinayakan and Dileesh for the first time and it was incredible. I always wanted to work with Dileesh, much before he became a director. I was waiting for a perfect role for him. He is such a fine actor,” says Lijo about Dileesh, who plays a vicar in the movie.

New talents

If Angamaly Diaries had 86 new faces, Ee. Ma. Yau too has fresh talents, most of them belonging to the Chellanam area. So is it a deliberate attempt on his part to feature new artistes?

“It is never planned. When I read a script, certain faces come into my mind and I keep looking out for such people. Of course, a lot of factors have to be taken into account before I go for new actors. But when I am given the freedom, I make full use of it. After all it is important to bring in new artistes because that is important for the industry to grow.”

However, he wants to take no chances when it comes to the music for the film. So he has fallen back on Prashant Pillai. “Composing sessions are what I enjoy the most during filmmaking. Making music is a divine process. Since I have certain individualistic tastes, I ensure that I work with a person who understands what I want. Prashant just fits the bill. I don’t know whether a new composer can compose the way I want. Another aspect is that I constantly discuss cinema and movies with him. Sometimes we might be talking about movies that we plan to do much later. It is an ongoing process for us,” he says.

However Ee. Ma. Yau tracks are situational compositions. “It is a sound-based film, with Renganaath Ravee (another Lijo regular) working on the sound design and Prashant coming up with songs that blend with the soundscape. So we have prayer songs, song played by the band…” Liju has also roped in Shyju Khalid as the cinematographer. The movie is produced by Rajesh George Kulangara.

So has he stepped in front of the camera in Ee. Ma. Yau? “No! I am not comfortable as an actor, I am extremely impatient. And I know I am not a good actor…” he chuckles.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:29:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/lijo-jose-pellissery-about-his-new-movie-eemayau/article21210194.ece

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