Movies

Mollywood director Ranjith Sankar says ‘Kamala’ has revived his enthusiasm for filmmaking

Ranjith Sankar during the shooting of Kamala

Ranjith Sankar during the shooting of Kamala   | Photo Credit: Sibin Salim

Starring Aju Varghese in the lead, the Malayalam thriller is set to release on November 14

Ranjith Sankar returns with a thriller, a genre with which he boarded the train to Mollywood in 2009 with Passenger. The techie-turned-director’s new film Kamala, he says, is a thriller that he directed to revive the thrill he used to get as a filmmaker when he initially stepped into tinsel world.

The trailer, released at 7 pm on Sunday, has had four lakh views and counting. Starring Aju Varghese in the lead, the film unfolds over 36 hours. Scripted and directed by Ranjith himself, Kamala is about a savvy dealer and broker whose area of work is in the southern districts of Kerala and the neighbouring areas of Tamil Nadu.

“It is a genre blender. Aju plays Safar, a high-end broker dealing in real estate and vehicles but not very educated. The film begins from Vizhinjam and travels to Kanyakumari and Tirunleveli districts in Tamil Nadu before returning to Kerala. We zoom into an important day in the life of Safar. He is about to finalise a big deal and the other is a mystery to be seen on screen,” narrates Ranjith. He adds that many things happen on that eventful day and that is when Kamala comes into his life. However, there is a mystery around this character, one that Safar has to solve. A wraith-like character, she has an enigmatic aura around her.

A still from Ranjith Sankar’s Kamala, starring Aju Varghese in the lead

A still from Ranjith Sankar’s Kamala, starring Aju Varghese in the lead   | Photo Credit: Sibin Salim

“Is she real? Many are not sure if she even exists. Some suspect her to be a ghost or a figment of Safar’s imagination while some wonder if she is a criminal. Yet others claim she is a police officer. How Safar tries to find the truth about Kamala is the story,” adds Ranjith.

In addition to Aju, a newcomer, about whom Ranjith is tight-lipped about, plays the character of Kamala; cinematography is Shehnad Jalal and music is by Anand Madhusoodanan. “You will see who Kamala is in a few days. There were many challenges involved in the making of this film but it reaffirmed my drive for filmmaking. I had started feeling jaded and bored once I was done with Njan Marykutty and Pretham 2 only reinforced that sentiment. I had even said that I planned to leave films once I was done with Pretham 2,” says Ranjith.

Postponing a couple of major projects with leading stars, he decided to take a break from what was beginning to feel like routine. Ranjith took off on a trip to places in India and abroad. He wondered if it was time to move on and start a new venture in a new place.

“I had come into tinsel town with the idea of making that one film. Now, 11 films and 10 years later, I had begun to see it as a job. For six months I was travelling but what was funny was that all the time, I was writing scripts and scribbling one-liners on an app in my phone. I discovered that after all that travelling and experiencing new cultures, what enthuses me is cinema,” he explains.

Aju Varghese plays the lead in Ranjith Sankar’s Kamala

Aju Varghese plays the lead in Ranjith Sankar’s Kamala   | Photo Credit: Sibin Salim

One of the scripts that he fleshed out during the travels was Kamala. He wrote several versions of the story and each time, he wondered if he would ever be able to transform it on screen. “I was scared if I would be able to do it, if people would accept. The script was not an easy one and I knew I would need a team of extraordinary actors to pull it off. The shoot had to be in a jungle. Would I be able to locate such a place? Anxious and tense, I kept postponing it, I knew there would be risks. But with risks come excitement,” he recalls.

Once he returned, he began casting for his film. Even casting for Safar was not easy. However, in an AHA moment, he decided that instead of a star with an image, Aju would be the best to play the shifty character.

“I sent a text to Aju telling him ‘Aju, it is time for you to be a hero’. He told he that he must have read that more than a 100 times,” says Ranjith. While choosing a newcomer to play the mysterious Kamala, Ranjith auditioned hundreds of newcomers before he felt that perhaps it would be best to go for an actor from a regional industry. “And my decision was right. She has done a terrific job. I am extremely happy with the film. Now, it remains to be seen what viewers feel,” he says.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 5:04:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/mollywood-director-ranjith-sankar-says-kamala-has-revived-his-enthusiasm-for-filmmaking/article29797159.ece

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