I searched all over the net for some write-up on “Nizhalukal”. Unfortunately they are removed by now. That’s the problem with working in television-moment of fame short-lived and erased without leaving any history behind.
Nizhalukal was my first screenplay, which came on air in early 2000.I started working on it almost a year back. I had completed my engineering by then and just landed on a software job. It happened just at the right time for me. Six months earlier or later maybe I would have to quit either my job or writing.
It was Asianet’s idea to create the first horror serial in Malayalam. And it was my good fortunes that landed me in this project. I was accommodated to a deserted state municipal guesthouse in Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum with the task of making the right story and screenplay for the same. The 2 months I spend writing Nizhalukal was an unforgettable and sort of a “horrifying” experience itself.
The Days were spent at my office. I was undergoing my training then. I have to say it had an impact on my software training also. While sitting through those sessions my mind was filled with my characters in Nizhalukal than the software processes and procedures.
Evenings were for discussions and nights for writing.
Those 2 months should be the most dreaded nights I had. The directors and actors who came for discussions used to tell me about their extra terrestrial experiences for “inspiring” me. In the nights I was left all alone in the 5th floor of a deserted building to write a horror script. That small light that came through that keyhole.. The sound of a newspaper lying on the floor..A spooky looking guesthouse manager… all added to the drama. I think what worked for me during those days was the kind of variety I had in my life with software and screenplay. That was perfect balance.
The story of “Nizhalukal” was inspired from a cover story India today did during my engineering days. It was about a six-year-old Gujarati kid speaking in the voice of a 60-year-old grand mother and reciting Bhagvat gita etc. The characters were placed in the kerala milieu and some drama added. I loved creating every character of it. Lakshmi, Muthassi, Prof.Karumadom..One thing I was very particular was that it should not have the “yakshi” moving around in a white sari singing songs. It should be set in an environment which was real and which we have witnessed in our lives.
I was completely confident of the project by the time I finished writing Nizhalukal.The excitement of creating something different remained all through the shooting.
Nizhalukal came on air by the time I had finished my training and started working. I was staying with my friends in Kochi then. We did not have a TV at our place to watch the first episode. We went to a friends place to watch it all together. The sweetest experience was to see my name appear for the first time on screen.
Nizhalukal went on to become one of the biggest hits of its times. It topped the charts all through the 2 years it was on air. It won many awards including the film critics. And eventually slowly forgotten as it went off air.
It would not be fair to say that had Nizhalukal not happened then I would not have written more screenplays. I would have still tried to make something else. But today looking back I am very happy that “Nizhalukal” happened. It gives me even more happiness when I meet people in my day-to-day life who still remembers Lakshmi and Prof.Karumadom.
Atleast some “shadows” of Nizhalukal are left over somewhere maybe..