Cinema

The ‘Elektra’ complex

FAMILY DYNAMICS: Prakash Raj, Manisha Koirala and Nayanthara in 'Elektra'.   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Even before the first shot is canned, film director Shyamaprasad's films create ripples of expectation among film enthusiasts. The filmmaker's envious filmography ensures that he can pick and choose his cast. And his latest film, ‘Elektra’, is no exception.

“I had always wanted to adapt ‘Electra' for the screen. It was one of the plays I had read and studied during my days in the School of Drama in Thrissur,” says Shyamaprasad.

However other films and projects came his way and the filmmaker, a former employee of Doordarshan, carved a niche for himself with his intensely personal films that explore the spectrum of relationships. His nuanced frames and sharply etched characters gained a life of their own outside the silver screen as they evoked discussions and debates and also left a starry trail of awards.

Even before ‘Ritu’, Shyamaprasad’s previous film, reached theatres, news about ‘Elektra’ had created a buzz as glamour queen Nayanthara was tipped to play the lead in the movie.

“Nayan [Nayanthara] said that she was interested in working with me and immediately it was Electra that came to mind. She was also interested in the character and then my work was to find the right cast to do justice to the film and its complexities,” says Shyamaprasad, who is busy filming his dream project.

Meaty role

Queen bee Nayanthara could not have asked for a better way to make a splash in Malayalam cinema than this role. “I am on the lookout for meaty characters and scripts where I can do more than just look pretty,” she says.

Once Nayanthara was cast as Elektra Alexander, the search was on to find the actors to play her parents, Alexander and Diane. And when Shyamaprasad zeroed in on Prakash Raj and Manisha Koirala to play parents to Elektra, the film made waves in tinsel town. Both Manisha and Prakash emphasise that it was the director's script and style of filmmaking that brought them down to Kochi for the filming of ‘Elektra’.

“Diane has a negative, almost evil side to her that makes it a challenge to portray the character. I have reached a stage in my career when I can choose my films as I am not in the numbers game. It is the director and the script that matter and specially the directors. I have seen excellent scripts being ruined by inept directors who had no clue what to do. Fortunately, Shyam is focussed and so he is able to tell us what exactly he has in mind,” gushes Manisha.

The multifaceted Prakash also agrees that for him it is his character that is of paramount interest. Language is no bar for this award-wining actor with a pan-South Indian following. Prakash plays Elektra's father and Issac, the man who courts Elektra.

“The film is set in the high ranges and it narrates the story of a planter and his bored wife who has an affair with a much younger man. Their children Elektra and Edwin complete the dysfunctional family set-up with its inner politics and tensions. At one stage of the film, it also develops into a whodunit,” says Shyamaprasad, a little reluctant to reveal more about the film and its plot. Kannada actor Skanda, Biju Menon and Srikumar complete the cast.

As with other films directed by Shyamaprasad, each frame of the film has a certain mood that pervades the sets too.

Cinematographer Sanu George Varghese, making his debut in Mollywood, ensures that the camera is focused on the director's vision. The fine arts graduate who entered mainstream cinema via ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’ says feature films are his passion.

The duo complement each other as their eye for detail helps enhance the frame of mind of the characters.

Music, an organic feature of Shyamaprasad’s films, will accentuate the narration. “There will be songs but that will be woven around the narrative of the film and the story. I have not yet finalised who would be the music director,” he says.

‘Elektra’ is being produced by Shymaprasad's buddy Vindhyan's Rasika Entertainment and is likely to reach theatres by Onam.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 1:00:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/The-lsquoElektrarsquo-complex/article16303897.ece

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