Malayalam filmmaker Prasobh Vijayan on his new movie ‘Anveshanam’, a medical thriller

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

Mollywood has delivered some hits in the genre of medical thrillers, such as Nirnayam and Apothecary. Director Prasobh Vijayan says, he has attempted to capture the “general anxiety and fear” one associates a hospital with, in Anveshanam as well. “One may encounter a sense of unease at a hospital. After all, isn’t it one place we would try to avoid if possible? The thought ‘what may happen next’ presents itself, irrespective of how rich or poor you are,” he says.

Prasobh describes his Jayasurya-starrer Anveshanam, set to hit the screens on January 31, as a family thriller set against a medical backdrop that serves as a stage for an “investigation of truth.”

Truth is stranger than fiction

“Imagine there’s an earth-shattering incident that happens in a family that otherwise seemingly leads a normal, happy life. What if someone wants to conceal the causes for unexplained reasons? Imagine we can’t ascertain who’s telling the truth and who’s lying and we find the characters’ version of events inconsistent. That’s when outsiders (other characters) start conjecturing and coming up with their own theories about the chain of events. This leads to a chain reaction of untruths and assumptions, creating further complications. Anveshanam moves forward depending on who tells the truth and who lies,” says Prasobh, not wanting to divulge more about the plot. Perhaps, it’s no surprise that the film takes the tagline ‘Truth is always bizarre.’

Jayasurya plays Aravind, a media professional, and Shruti Ramachandran dons the role of his partner. The couple have two kids. “One day, when Aravind is at work, he is informed of something unexpected that happens to his family and has to reach the hospital immediately. But what awaits him comes as a shock,” says Prasobh, adding that Anveshanam is a “performance-oriented” flick. As Aravind’s investigation into “what happened” starts, he is soon sucked into a miasma of questions that he fights to find the answers for.”

Prasobh Vijayan

Prasobh Vijayan   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“Apart from the question of whodunit and whydunit, he has to find who are involved in it and why they are all in this. We realise it’s when we lie that often things spin out of hand. The characters can’t but solve the conundrum at hand before they leave the scene, ratcheting up the tension,” says Prasobh, a native of Pravachambalam on the outskirts of the city.

Anveshanam is Prasobh’s second directorial venture, after the 2018 revenge thriller Lilli that had Samyuktha Menon playing the titular character as a pregnant mother.

Others in the cast include baby Jess, master Ashutosh, Vijay Babu, Lena, Lal, Nandu, Leona Lishoy, Shaju Sreedhar among others. The film is scripted by Shruti’s husband, Francis Thomas, who makes his debut as a scenarist. About the movie’s development, Prasobh says: “The script is actually a birthday gift Francis gave Shruti (who had worked with Jayasurya in Pretham previously). When the screenplay reached me, I found it interesting.”

Prasobh says “95%” of the movie was shot in Palakkad where a private hospital served as the central setting, while other portions were filmed in Kochi. Sujith Vaassudev cranked the camera, while editing was by Appu Bhattathiri. The filmmaker says he’s endeavoured to make the narrative “crisp” and has steered clear of songs, apart from the title track, ‘Ilam poove’, crooned by Sooraj Santhosh. Joe Paul’s lyrics were set to tune by Jakes Bejoy, who also composed the film’s background score.

Claustrophobic feel

Prasobh says the challenges he faced while shooting Anveshanam were quite similar to those of Lilli owing to the “limited locations” in both the films. “Almost the entirety of Anveshanam unravels in a hospital and I have tried to capture a claustrophobic mood throughout. I wanted the characters to know that ‘you are in this and you are not going to get out... without telling the truth’.”

The filmmaker says he likes movies set against a medical background and cites Hollywood films Awake and Fractured as on top of his list, while calling Nirnayam as perhaps “the benchmark” in Malayalam. His other favourites are Joseph, Virus and Ayalum Njanum Thammil and popular American medical drama series House.

For now, the investigation begins...

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 10:45:43 AM |

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