Technicians coming in front of movie camera is not a new phenomenon in Malayalam film industry. Noted actors like Dileep, Renji Panicker and Shine Tom Chacko were behind the camera before they became actors. Now it’s the period of a reverse trend — actors becoming screenwriters and directors. Young actors Prithviraj Sukumaran, Neeraj Madhav and Chemban Vinod Jose are gearing up to take up their new roles. When Prithvi is all set to wield the megaphone, Neeraj and Chemban will turn screenwriters for different projects. Yet another actor Murali Gopy will be penning the screenplay for Prithviraj’s directorial debut Lucifer, with super star Mohanlal in the lead.
About the transformation of Prithviraj from an actor to a director, Murali says, “Raju was planning to do his own film for the past few years. It was around one year back we discussed a project as he was keen to direct a film based on my script. More than that, he was interested in debuting with a Mohanlal-starrer. It was then I shared the subject of Lucifer with him and he found it interesting.” The writer refused to divulge more on the film, which is expected to reach floors next year.
It was as an actor that Neeraj Madhav became noted among the Malayalam film audience after he essayed key roles in Jeethu Joseph’s Memories and Drishyam. Later, he became integral part of the young camp in Malayalam cinema. It was with Nivin Pauly-starrer Oru Vadakkan Selfie that Neeraj shifted his focus to another department — choreography. Now the dancer-actor is all set to write a screenplay for a movie which has Neeraj, Aju Varghese and Biju Menon in the lead.
Quizzed about his new role, he says, “In fact, my ultimate aim since schooldays was to direct a film. That’s why I chose Visual Communication for graduation. During that period I have directed a short film shot by Premam-fame Anend C.Chandran, who was my college mate. But after graduation, I did not assist any director as I wanted to do post-graduation and so joined theatre studies. My plan was to enter the industry as a technician, but before that, in an unexpected turn of events, I got a chance to act in Buddy and thus began my acting career. My dream has been to direct a film based on a screenplay written by myself.”
Neeraj says that the basic idea of his film was with him for five years. “It was on the sets of Mariyam Mukku, I shared the thought with Aju, my friend even before I joined filmdom. He liked the subject and showed green signal, but I did not approach any director or producer. It was during the shoot of Jamnapyari this subject transformed into a project. On the sets, producer Jaison Elamkulam told me and Aju that he was interested in doing a film with both of us. Then Aju told him about my subject and he agreed to bankroll the film,” says Neeraj. The yet-to-be-titled film will be directed by Gireesh Mano, who earlier called the shots for Sunny Wayne-starrer Ne Ko NJa Cha.
Quizzed about his direction plans, Neeraj says, “It will definitely happen. But as of now, I cannot talk about that as my complete concentration is on this project, which will begin from November.” Chemban Vinod Jose is all set to compose a script for Angamaly Diaries, which will be directed by Amen fame-Lijo Jose Pellissery, who is also noted as an actor. Lijo, who will fix frames for Chemban’s screenplay, says, “Every person is a storyteller as he can narrate at least one story. Chemban had told me about this subject six years ago. He has been a friend of mine even before both of us entered filmdom and I was free to pass on my comments. Though he wanted me to helm the project, I felt he would be the better person to direct it. He went with that project and I became busy with some other films. But now, destiny has brought it back to me."...