It happened around four years ago. After watching Manu Sudhakar’s movie 10.30 am Local Call, director Rajesh Pillai called his friend Arunlal Ramachandran, the screenwriter of the film, and sought a script from him.
Manu’s film was not a super hit, but Rajesh sensed the spark of a good writer in Arunlal. “Rajesh chettan used to follow many thrillers and he was a great fan of that genre. So, one day, after watching my debut film as writer, he called me and demanded a ‘thrilling’ script for him. But he said that film should not have a usual thriller pattern,” says Arunlal on how he became the writer for Rajesh Pillai’s Vettah.
Rajesh was a bit adamant to avoid usual investigational-mystery thriller style for his film. “It was a big challenge for me. Though we started thinking about an apt subject, both of us could not sit for a proper story discussion as he became busy with Mili and I had to concentrate on another film. It was during the post-production of Mili we started serious discussions and that’s how we landed on the theme — a mind game thriller,” he says.
According to Arun, Rajesh Pillai wanted to convey a message through his film, even though it was in a thriller format. “It was during our story discussion in Thiruvanthapuram we came to know about a shocking incident through a newspaper. As it was such painful news, we could not concentrate on the story we were planning. Naturally, he suggested me to plan a thriller film with this subject.”
For Arun, Rajesh was not just a colleague, but an elder brother. “We have been friends even before I came to the film industry and that’s the relation which made us to join together for film. On the one hand, I felt happy to be part of a Rajesh Pillai film, but at the same time it is a sad fact that we cannot see yet another film from that legend,” he says.
“Hours before he was hospitalised, he could hear a good review about the film. It was during the censoring of the film, which was held at Kalabhavan Theatre in Thiruvananthapuram. He was there during the censoring. When he went inside to collect the certificate, one of the board members had told him that he had done a brilliant job with this film. It was big reward for Rajesh chettan,” he remembers.