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Destiny's child

P.K. AJITH KUMAR

Shajoon Karyal avers that a good script is essential for the success of a film.

PHOTO: S. RAMESH KURUP

MOVIE MAGIC: Mohanlal and Padmapriya in `Vadakkumnathan'.

Shajoon Karyal gave himself one last chance. If this film didn't click, he decided to quit the film industry. The film was `Vadakkumnathan,' which has turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the year.

Although Shajoon felt that the audience would love the movie when he read the screenplay four years ago, when he started its shoot in 2004, he was doubtful as to whether the movie would be ever released.

Financial hurdles

Says this Kozhikode-based director whose movie, `Vadakkumnathan,' is nearing its 100th day, "There were so many obstacles - mainly financial - during the two years of shooting that all of us associated with the film feared it would never be completed. But Johnny Sagarika and M. Rajan stepped in and bailed us out."

Shajoon believes he was destined to do `Vadakkumnathan.' The script had been considered by five other directors before it came to him. "Gireesh Puthenchery had actually written the script for me, and I was expecting to start filming it sometime in 2003, but couldn't. I thought that I had lost the opportunity to make a good film. But eventually, somehow, the film came right back to me.

Paying homage

PHOTO: S. RAMESH KURUP

Shajoon Karyal believes he was destined to direct the film.

"I saw the film for the first time in a cinema at Jose Theatre in Thrissur. I was pleasantly surprised when the audience started applauding during the first song sequence; they were perhaps paying homage to Raveendran, the late composer. The viewers' reaction to the film convinced me that it was going to be a hit."

This is not Shajoon's first hit. `Thachiledathu Chundan,' released in 1999, with Mammootty in the lead role, was his first hit. But the three films he did after that - `Dreams,' `Saivar Thirumeni' and `Greetings' - did not set the box office on fire, forcing him to think of a change of career.

"I had ventured into production and had lost a considerable amount of money. And I was disappointed with `Dreams,' which I thought was technically well-made. It did not click because I was forced to make some compromises in the climax."

Shajoon, who joined the industry way back in 1984 as an assistant director under I.V. Sasi, at the age of 18, says he would begin the work on his next film only after getting a good script.

"That is the most important lesson I have learnt. I am planning to do four films, two with Mohanlal, and one each with Mammootty and Dileep. I will begin shooting one of them shortly, as soon as the script is ready."

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