A sprawling hospital complex is the location of director Madhav Ramadasan’s Apothecary. Dr. Vijay Nambiar’s personal room, next to his consulting room, is the scene of action. Dr. Nambiar is evidently tense.
“We are narrating a serious social issue that is presented on the lines of a thriller,” says Ramadasan, who had made his debut with the gem of a film called Melvilasam .
Apothecary was how doctors were addressed in rural Kerala several decades ago. Here, it is the name of the hospital that forms the backdrop for the story. Suresh Gopi plays Dr. Nambiar, a senior surgeon. Abhirami, who had quit films after her marriage and is settled in the United States (U.S.) now, returns to films, as his wife, Dr. Nalini.
“Along with the lead pair, there are two other important characters, played by Jayasurya and Asif Ali. I can’t reveal more about it right now to retain the suspense in the film,” he says.
The next shot has Abhirami joining Suresh for a serious discussion. After the shot Abhirami joins a group of women who have come to meet her. A beaming Abhirami says: “I am facing the camera after a break. I was in Chennai at a function to celebrate 100 years of cinema. After I returned to the U.S., I got a call asking if I would be interested in doing a role. I have fond memories about my stint as an actor but I didn’t really miss being part of films once I decided to quit,” says Abhirami.
Her hero in the film, Suresh, was the lead actor of Melvilasam , a terse courtroom drama that dealt with the issue of caste in the armed forces. “My present film is about the health care system. I would like to call this a stylised devotional film. But the devotion is towards their profession. For those who are ailing, a doctor is someone who has the same place as that of God,” says the director.
Adds Suresh: “The vision of a doctor is reflected in the way he cares for his patients. Of course, we are traversing through only certain aspects of an issue. I feel that films serve as pointers, connecting society to a ruling system, which results in correction of certain unhealthy practices.”
Apothecary is being produced by Baby Mathew and George Mathew under the banner of Arambankudiyil Cinemas. The film will reach screens during the first week of August. Hari Nair is the cinematographer. Stills are by Noushad Kannur.