Cinema, for Prasobh Vijayan, was never a means of entertainment, but his passion. While he watched movies with his peers, he wanted to be part of them someday like most of the kids. He also wanted to leave his mark there. And today, the young director is all excited. Just 10 months into the release of his much-discussed debut movie Lilli, Prasobh is ready with his next, Anveshanam starring Jayasurya. With an unusual display of violence, his first movie saw mixed reactions. Prasobh says the critics only made him strong and promises that his next would be an even better thrilling experience.
When they finished filming Lilli, Anweshanam’s scriptwriter Francis Thomas had already approached E4 Entertainment. “They were happy to bankroll the project. Jayasurya was already cast and he was super excited, too. And I know exactly the reason: the script. It is a unique story and the way Francis has written is perfect.”
The title Anveshanam is enough to create a lot of expectations in the audience. The first and the only theatrical poster was out recently and it portrayed Jayasurya in an interesting way - he was seen peeking his head out of a window. It doesn’t say much, but surely raises curiosity. “It is a drama thriller. That’s all I can say now. But one thing I can assure you is that it will be a novel and different experience for the audience,” he adds.
Quizzed about the experience of working with a team that has big names on and off the screen, like Jayasurya, Vijay Babu, Lal, Sreekanth Murali, Shruthi Ramachandran, Leona Lishoy and cinematographer Sujith Vaassudev, Prasobh says they were all guided and working as one towards showing justice to what Francis had written. “This may sound like I am praising my writer, but one would not believe that it is his first movie. Francis has a knack for these kinds of family drama thrillers, I guess. I was just following the script and trying to direct it. Jayettan was happily following the storyline and evolving with the character. Same was the case of Sujith Vasudev, the man who shot super hits like Lucifer. It was well-written and really helped us to go with the flow.”
Prasobh adds that he tried to execute some his out-of-the box ideas in the movie and wanted to leave his mark. Lilli was definitely a statement by Prashobh. Being a fan of American filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, his films also influenced him in a big way during the filming of Lilli. “The ebb and flow of a director, or any artist for that matter, happen in a way that subjects to being filtered and goes under a lot of a transformation. Lilli was definitely a dream debut and from my first film, I wanted to show the world that this is the kind of movies I love and want to make. Yes, there were criticisms. But I guess that is how it should work.”
Lilli got an A certificate which definitely affected its performance. The trailer had given enough indications that the movie that has a heavily pregnant lady in the lead contained violent scenes. It was a landmark in the Malayalam movie industry as most of the feedbacks were with positive comments. Though we are open to violent Korean and European movies, Prasobh says that unlike western countries, the Indian audience still has a soft spot for simple family dramas. “We, I mean most of us, are yet to get exposed to various genres of films — especially Malayalis who hope for a normal day at the office and a good night sleep later.
They would definitely want to see entertaining movies with happy ending during the weekend. And we can’t blame them. Even I wish for the same. If I am stressed out and sitting somewhere to relax, I will never watch movies like Lilli. But that does not mean that there should not be a place for those films. In world cinema, they have a place and here in our part of the world, they should have too. I’m not talking about just the gory and lynching scenes. But we should be exposed to more genres like that. And I will always try to come up with some experiments like that. Lilli was a successful experience for me. I could introduce something in my style,” he adds.
Prasobh also thanks a team that has stood behind him for his venture. C.V. Sarathi, the producer of his first film and the co-producer of Anweshanam, is one among them. “He is a film lover who has a great vision about the art and he is not ready for any compromise in perfection too.”
Prasobh dreams big and wants to follow his own will when it comes to filmmaking. “Web series are one good way to execute my plans. There are a lot of chances for budding directors like me there. One cannot sit idle sating there are no chances. You have to see what kind of experiments they do in the West online. It is a big world. And in future, I hope to finance my own projects. Those are distant dreams and it takes a lot of time and effort to realise them. But at the moment, I am all excited about my movie ventures and living my dream. We have already completed the filming and the dubbing works are going on. The team is very much hopeful and excited,” he wraps up.