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Snapshots of school life

P.K. AJITH KUMAR

Rosshan Andrrews' second film, `Notebook' revolves around five school students.



BACK TO SCHOOL: A scene from Rosshan Andrrews' `Notebook' which has five new faces in the lead.

His was a sensational debut in mainstream Malayalam cinema. Rosshan Andrrews' maiden film `Udayananu Tharam' was not only a box office hit, but also a well-made film. The young director received a lot of offers after the success of his film but he was in no hurry. "I want to make only 10 films in my life but those films should have something to tell the audience," he says.

Rosshan is now busy with the shoot of his second film, `Notebook.' Some scenes of the film were shot in different places in Kozhikode, after the first schedule in Ooty.

It is more than a year since `Udayananu Tharam,' which was scripted by Sreenivasan and had Mohanlal in the lead, hit the theatres. However, `Notebook' has no big stars and its script has been written by two brothers who are just one film old. But the one film Sanjay and Bobby wrote - `Ente Veedu, Appoonteyum' - impressed the critics and the box office. The duo's second film, `Notebook,' is about three girls (Sreedevi, Sara and Pooja) and two boys (Sooraj and Feroz) and how they react to certain unexpected incidents in their lives. All the five actors are new faces and they play teenagers studying in an expensive residential school.

Talent hunt

"The artistes were chosen after a talent hunt; we selected the cast from 5,000 applications. I am happy with the performance ofthe main artistes - Roma, Maria, Parvathy, Sooraj and Meijo Joseph.

"Meijo is also the music director of the film. He is my brother-in-law but that's not the reason why I cast him; he is there because he is talented," says Rosshan.

The school scenes were shot at Lawrence School, Lovedale, Ooty.

"Although it cost a fortune to shoot there, it turned out to be perfect. I had visited many schools in Kerala, but couldn't find what I wanted."

The work has now shifted to the Medical College Ground in Kozhikode.

"These are title shots," he explains, as cameraman Vetri, who is standing in for Divakar, films a scene showing a small group of smart girls in uniforms marching with their school band. The director says that his main cameraman had to leave the unit for a few days and that he would be back soon. The scene requires a few takes before it is finally okayed.

Although the film produced by `Grihalakshmi Productions' features new faces, it is not a low-budget movie, points out the director.

"The budget is Rs. 1.80 crores and the producer P.V. Gangadharan has given me every thing I wanted, including the latest technology required for shooting a film."

The producer, who has one of the highest box office success rates in Malayalam cinema, says he is confident that the film will do well.

"I liked the theme and I was impressed with Rosshan's work in `Udayananu Tharam.' Moreover, there aren't too many films in Malayalam about school life, so I am sure this will be a refreshing experience for the audience."

Rosshan is equally upbeat. "I can say with confidence that this film will remind the audience of their own school days," he says, as preparations are under way for the next scene.

Nostalgic trip

"It will make you feel nostalgic," he adds before he leaves the director's chair to check if the boys who are required to run on the track are properly dressed.

A couple of them are asked to change their T-shirts. After fine tuning the scene to his satisfaction, Rosshan returns to continue the conversation.

"In `Notebook' my message is that children should grow up with their families and not in boarding schools."

Sunil Babu is the art director, Vrinda the choreographer, Ranjan Abraham the editor, and stills are by Sunil Guruvayoor. The lyricist is Vayalar Sharathchandra Varma.

The film is scheduled to be released in November.

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