Friday Review

Savouring success

Martin Prakkat   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

“My parents haven’t understood what is going on. I have not shown them the movie,” says Martin Prakkat with a chuckle when we finally manage to get him over the phone. He is in the middle of receiving congratulatory messages at his home in Changanassery on winning the Kerala State Film Award for the Best Director for Charlie. “I thought they wouldn’t like the movie and so I told them to watch it when it comes on television,” says Martin.

He was in for a surprise when the awards were declared. In addition to direction, Charlie won the awards for best actor (Dulquer Salmaan), best actress (Parvathy), script (Martin and Unni R.), cinematography (Jomon T. John), art direction (Jayasree Lakshmi Narayanan), sound mixing (M.R. Rajakrishnan) and processing lab/colourist.

“It had the possibility to win awards in the technical and acting department for we had the best hands working in all of them. But honesty I didn’t expect to win this. In fact, Dulquer used to jokingly say that we won’t get any awards. The awards are meant for certain people only!” he says.

Perhaps the only time he wanted to win one was when his youngest daughter, Rebecca, made an observation. “While watching an award show on television, she asked me whether our cinema would also get an award. That was when I thought how nice it would be if we get an award,” Martin says. When we point out that he had a big competitor in the form of R.S. Vimal, director of Ennu Ninte Moideen, Martin muses: “I don’t know what went in my favour. It is the decision of a committee and I am elated to have got this honour.”

Charlie, based on a story by Unni R., was not an easy movie to make, especially with the floods in Chennai delaying the film’s post-production work. Added to it was the hype surrounding its release, with several stories going round about the storyline and the actors in the movie. A feel-good tale about Charlie, a wanderer, and Tessa, a free-spirited girl who sets out in search of him, the film was backed by fine performances, beautiful visuals and fresh frames. And the audience lapped up the film.

Martin, who always nurtured a dream to make films, started out as a photographer. His long stint with a leading women’s magazine set the stage and he made his debut with Mammootty-starrer, Best Actor, which he co-wrote with his friend, Bibin Chandran. The work didn’t go unnoticed and his second film, ABCD, incidentally with Dulquer in the lead, also did well at the box office.

Now that he has fallen into the league of award-winning filmmakers, won’t he be under pressure to give the best each time? “(Laughs) There’s nothing like that. The euphoria surrounding the awards will die out soon. What makes me really happy is that I have been able to make a film at a time when Malayalam cinema is going through a good phase. Premam is my favourite film from last year. Ennu Ninte Moideen, Amar Akbar Antony, Two Countries, Adi Kapyare Koottamani…they were all successful and it feels good to be part of the industry at such a good time,” he says.

Meanwhile, somebody he truly misses is Kalpana. “She was the one who was so sure that Dulquer would win an award for his work in Charlie. She was so happy with his performance and kept on saying that,” he says.

In the meantime, rumour mills are at work again about Martin’s next film, which he refuses to discuss.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 11:06:25 AM |

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