Friday Review

In the company of grandmothers

Film director Jude Anthany Joseph on the sets of 'Oru Muthashi Gada'.Photo: special arrangement   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement



Two grey-haired women do not usually play the lead in Malayalam films, especially one that is about their escapades. But then the filmmaker is not your run-of-the-mill director who wants a predictable plot with so many songs, action scenes, romantic frames, picturesque locales and melodrama. In fact, when Jude Anthany Joseph, the filmmaker who made his debut in tinsel town with the mammoth hit Ohm Shanthi Oshaana (OSO), announced that his second film would be Oru Muthashi Gada, even his friends and well-wishers wondered if he was doing the right thing.

All eyes were bound to be on Jude as he stepped behind the camera for his second film. However, Jude is unfazed as he makes Oru Muthashi Gada, nearly two years after he made the award-winning Nivin Pauly-starrer OSO.

“Nivin had a thread of a story about two elderly women who had different takes on lives. That was much before OSO. I was charmed by the tale and it stayed with me. When the excitement over OSO had settled down, I told Nivin that I was going to work on the story of the two women. Both he and Vineeth did their best to convince me to work on some other story. Nevertheless, I felt there was something honest and relevant about the two women and began writing the script,” says Jude.

Given the social scenario in Kerala, Jude points out that this movie is for families. With the demographic profile in Kerala greying rapidly, Jude says the theme is relevant to all viewers. “As it is, senior citizens are facing a lot of issues. That made me wonder about how it would be when I reach that age. Where would my friends be? All these are concerns for all of us. That thought gave me the confidence to go ahead with the story. Once the script was completed, Vineeth changed his opinion. He said he was proud that I had fleshed out a theme like OMG,” adds Jude.

Having said that Jude promises that OMG will not be a tearjerker or a preachy film. He says it is a fun-filled movie about Susamma, a sunny woman with a never-say-die attitude, and Leelamma, a gossipy woman with a gloomy outlook, nursing grudges and unfulfilled dreams. Dubbing artiste Bhagyalakshmi and a newcomer play Susamma and Leelamma, respectively. “I did not think casting the lead characters would be so difficult. I approached many of our actresses who were in that age group. But they all shied away saying one reason or the other. My guess is that none of them wanted to be cast as a grandma,” laughs Jude. He placed an advertisement for an actress to play Leelamma and that is how a new face was selected. Then, Jude was keen on having an experienced person as Susamma. “When I met Bhaghya chechi at a meeting, I knew she would be apt for the character. I wanted someone who was good looking and graceful and she fit the bill. I was told that she was arrogant. But I met her and narrated the story. She agreed to play the role without any fuss and she has been a great source of strength for me,” says Jude.

The two women are good friends and relatives as Leelamma’s son [Suraj Venjaramoodu] is married to Susamma’s daughter [Lena]. Their daughter is played by Aparna Balamurali. Vineeth Sreenivasan, Lal Jose, Renji Panicker, Aju Varghese and Rajeev Pillai are in the cast.

“I have the same team that worked behind the camera. Vinod Illampally is the cinematographer and Shaan Rahman is the music director,” explains Jude.

The director’s take is that the movie will appeal to all because it is about families and how they bond and break up and bond again.

Shooting has resumed in Munnar for the second schedule of OMG and the movie is slotted as an Onam release. Jude has the last word as he asserts: “I am confident this fun film will linger in the minds of the viewers. It is that kind of a movie.”

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 12:20:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/jude-anthany-joseph-on-his-forthcoming-film-oru-muthashi-gada/article8560542.ece

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