It must have been a memorable moment for veteran actor and producer Maniyanpillai Raju to watch his youngest son, Niranj, face the camera for the first time in Black Butterflies , M. Renjith’s maiden directorial venture. “He had to say a few dialogues and emote and the scene was okayed in the first take itself. The entire crew applauded. He was not camera shy and confidently delivered his dialogues,” says the proud father. Raju remembers that it was the late thespian Thikkurissi who had chosen the name Niranj. “Thikkurissi chettan had this intuition and it was he who had chosen the screen name for Priyadarsan, Prem Nazeer, K.P. Ummer and Bahadur. He predicted that Niranj would go on to become an actor,” remembers Raju, who is the producer of the film.
Although Niranj, a B.Com student of Mar Ivanios, had been getting several offers, he was apparently keen on completing his studies and going abroad for his post-graduation like his elder brother, Sachin. That is when this script came along and both Niranj and his father felt it was the right kind of a role for a debutant. “He has always expressed his interest in acting and so we decided to make this one his first movie. Renjith and I discussed it and once Renjith decided to direct the film, the project just took off,” says Raju. Niranj plays Deepak, a student of Plus Two who has a soft corner for a girl of his age. The movie sounds like a thriller with a dash of romance. All the lead roles are being enacted by newcomers Mithun, Malavika and Samskriti. Incidentally, movie buffs know it was Raju who applied the greasepaint on Mohanlal’s face for the first time and look where he is… So did he do the makeup for his son as well? “Well, Pattanam Rasheed is in charge of makeup for this movie. But he insisted that I do the first ‘pottu’ on Niranj and so I did it,” admits Raju. Black Butterflies is a remake of the Tamil flick Vazhakku Enn 18/9 , written and directed by Balaji Sakthivel. M.G. Sreekumar is the music director. The film is being shot in and around the capital city.