Summer of 1980

Filmmaker Anjali Menon's movie ‘Manjadikuru' reaches theatres on Friday, while ‘Ustad Hotel,' a movie she has scripted, debuts on screen in June.

May 17, 2012 08:38 pm | Updated July 11, 2016 06:18 pm IST

A still from Anjali Menon's movie Manjadikuru

A still from Anjali Menon's movie Manjadikuru

Filmmaker Anjali Menon is all smiles. Her debut movie ‘Manjadikuru,' which won the FIPRESCI award for best Malayalam film and the Hassankutty award for best Indian debut director in 2008, is finally reaching theatres today. “There was a change in producer and other related issues. That is why the delay in its release,” she says.

A movie, which is based on a man's memories of summer, Anjali is hoping to cash in on the ‘nostalgia' aspect in ‘Manjadikuru' right in time for the ongoing summer holidays.

Says Anjali: “‘Manjadikuru' is a movie set in the summer of 1980 in Kerala. It was a different kind of atmosphere in the Kerala of the 1980s. The movies, songs, clothes, culture…, everything was different. The movie will be a trip down memory lane for those who grew up in that era. Others will find this movie a fascinating glimpse into this ‘yesterworld.'”

The inspiration for ‘Manjadikuru,' says Anjali, came from a photograph. The snap captured a moment of joy shared amongst a group of children during a funeral. The contrast of emotions made her ponder. “When the adults considered it a moment to mourn, the children did not see it that way. These dual thoughts made me think about it in a larger plane.”

Her childhood memories of summers spent in Kozhikode were another inspiration. “Summer holidays meant coming down to Kerala from Dubai and it was spent in my grandparents' homes in Kozhikode and Mahe. My days were mostly spent outdoors. However, those places which I once roamed are disappearing. Life seemed simpler and richer then.”

A search for roots

‘Manjadikuru,' according to Anjali, is a journey back to one's roots. “Manjadikurus, which are in pods, scatter when the pods wither. I have tried to liken it to the journey a person takes when he steps out of his family or maybe his culture and the kind of journey he takes back towards his roots. This is portrayed through a series of metaphors in the movie,” says Anjali, who adds that her experience as a second generation non-resident Indian helped in the making of the film, which deals with a man, Vicky's (Prithviraj) journey in search of his roots.

The movie will be a Little Films India release through August Cinema in Kerala.

Apart from Prithviraj in the lead, ‘Manjadikuru' also stars Rahman, Urvashi, Thilakan, Jagathy Sreekumar, Bindu Panickar, and Kaviyoor Ponamma, to name a few.

The film maker is also on cloud nine as ‘Ustad Hotel,' a movie she has scripted will hit theatres in June. “The script for ‘Ustad Hotel' happened when I was pregnant with my son, Madhav. I wrote the story right through my pregnancy. The last 10 pages were written after Madhav was born. Anwar Rasheed, the director of ‘Utsad Hotel' and I both shared the same wavelength for the movie. When I dropped by the sets, I was pleasantly surprised to see how my visions on paper were brought to life on reel,” says Anjali who directed a 14-minute film ‘Happy Journey,' which is part of the ‘Kerala Café' anthology.

The seed for ‘Ustad Hotel' was sown during Anjali's stay in Kozhikode. “I was in Kozhikode during my pregnancy. The warmth and hospitality of the people of Kozhikode floored me. That is when I thought of a story of an old- world hotel by the beach of Kozhikode. The man who runs the hotel, Kareem, is a person who welcomes anyone and everyone into his heart and life.”

The Malayalam used in the movie is “Kozhikoden,” something Anjali is comfortable with.

Ask her what's in the pipeline and she replies: “I am planning an urban romantic comedy under Little Films. A yet untitled movie, it is in Malayalam and will be set in Kochi. And yes, I have written the script. The movie should be out by the end of December.”

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