Only thing I wanted to do with my life was to make movies.I managed to make 2 so far.The first one “Passenger” was a hit and many thought it was a very special movie then.The second one “Arjunan Saakhsi” was a flop and most said I am a “one movie wonder”.Well I don’t know myself if I am one unless I make my next.So probably this is called mid life crisis for me.
I wrote the first draft of passenger in 2003.I never thought of directing it myself.The script was rejected by almost all leading film makers here as it was too risky to make it.I realised if I wanted to see passenger on screen i would need to direct it myself.
I wrote for television before.But that was more of a writers medium.I could do whatever i wanted within the limitations of a budget.Movie was totally different.It was and it had to be a directors medium.
I had realised that making passenger was the most important part of my life at that point of time.There seemed no point in living without making it or atleast be in the pursuit of making it.
I got an appointment with Mammutty to narrate the script.He loved the script and gave me confidence saying I was the best person to direct it.He said he can arrange me opportunities to learn direction.I spend the past 3 years visiting movie sets and watch other directors work using some of the contacts I had.It was tough days but what kept me going was the excitement of seeing passenger on screen some day.
I felt confident that I was ready to direct in 2007.I approached all the leading producers with the passenger script.Again no one was ready to make it, as it was a huge risk.So I had a script I believed in, but no producers, distributors, actors.. absolutely me alone. I knew I had to make a start somewhere. I remember it was during one of those sleepless nights I realised I could produce passenger myself.
Well I was not a multimillionaire to do it, but I could very well raise the amount from banks against my salary and against couple of properties I had bought by then. The best part was that my family supported me completely in it. They must have realised how important it was for me.
Mammutty was too busy to do the movie at that point of time.I couldn’t have waited longer.Also I had started feeling if the common man in sathyanathan would be overpowered by the megastar in him.I met sreenivasan with the script to play the role of Sathyanathan. I told him I will produce and direct the movie. He heard the script and said it was excellent. I asked him whether he would act as Sathyan. He smiled and said that he will not only act in this movie but will stand by me to make it. We parted after a chat for an hour.
It was busy next day for me, approaching banks for loans. Canara bank offered me 10 lakhs. It was not enough. I was driving to HDFC that I got a call from Sreenivasan. He asked whether I was particular that I produce passenger. He said it would be difficult for me to focus writing, directing and producing a first movie. He offered to arrange me a producer. I was pleasantly surprised. I was not alone anymore.
Rest was easy. The best part was that evryone who joined us in the project loved and believed in passenger as much or more than I did. We got each and every actor whom we wanted to every particular role. It was dream casting. You cant actually plan it. Its luck. It happens for some movies which are destined to have it.
Passenger was a commercial and critical success.There were several offers to make another movie.I felt I should wait for a script that excites me.Arjunan Sakshi was something I wanted to make since I was a student.I started feeling strongly that I should make it since I felt the issues that it discussed was more relevant now than a decade before.I completed the script and felt Prithviraj was the right actor to play the central role.
I met Prithvi with the script and he was very excited to do it.We made arjunan saakhi with same or even more passion than passenger.It was a big shock for me when it did not do well at the box office.I couldn’t do anything for a couple of months.I travelled extensively during the period to distract myself from its thoughts.Nothing was helpful.And one fine morning I realised the only way to come out of it was to work on another script.I need a dream to keep myself going all the time.
And now there is a dream.I am excited about writing it right now.I don’t know how audience are going to take it.I don’t want to be bothered about it since I don’t want to lose the excitement of creating it.
Hopefully you will get to see my 3rd movie some time soon.
(An article for KAGW magazine reproduced from some of the earlier blogs)