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The season of love

PREMA MANMADHAN

Udayan Ananthan says his maiden feature film, `Pranayakalam,' is one for the family.

Photo: K.K. Mustafah

PROFESSIONAL TOUCH: Udayan Ananthan, centre, with Vimala and Ajmal on the sets of `Pranayakalam.'

The season of love (`Pranayakalam') is getting almost over. As you enter the Maria Park, Kochi, you see before you Apollo Hospitals. That's when you realise that art director Gokuldas has turned it into a hospital and the hospital scenes are being shot for Udayan Ananthan's maiden feature film, `Pranayakalam.' He joins the bandwagon of fresh faces who have given Malayalam cinema a new direction.

The heroine, Vimala, is in blue hospital robes and the dapper hero, newcomer Ajmal, is all over the place. He is quite at home on the set. Although he plays a student in the movie, in real life, he is a practising doctor. This is his debut movie too.

Confident approach

Udayan is wrapping up the movie and the tension shows on his face. But he directs veterans like Seema and Balachandra Menon with the confidence of a professional. "It's a true love story and it is family oriented. People think that there is no true love any more, but I believe there is. In fact they are more serious about it. Only, it is more realistic than romantic today," he talks about his movie.

There is a grandfather, played by Thilakan and two happy families that get involved with one another when their children fall in love. With six songs in the movie, music is a highlight of it. Leading singers share space with up-and-coming ones. K.J. Yesudas, K.S. Chitra, Sujatha, Franco, Gayathri and Kalyani Menon sing the songs, penned by Rafeeq Ahmed and set to music by Ouseppachan.

Vimala, the heroine, is a K. Balachander find (she played the lead in `Poi'). She has just finished doing the movie, `Time,' with Suresh Gopi. She grew up in Australia, but came to India often for her dance classes. A trained Bharatanatyam dancer, who has given more than 150 performances, Vimala was Miss India-Australia and did a stint of modelling before her silver screen debut. "There is some confusion with regard to my name. People give me so many surnames, but my screen name is just Vimala. My character in this film is that of a soft spoken, reserved girl, not like my real character. I am actually a bubbly person," she says.

Seema dons the role of the heroine's mother. "I love acting in Malayalam movies and serials, though I live in Chennai. I am touched when people shower me with love even now, years after I quit as the leading lady," she says. Murali plays her husband in the film. He is a man of few words in the movie, Seema says.

The hero's mother is played by Lakshmy Ramkumar, who strayed into acting after many years of event management. She played Kavya Madhavan's mother in `Chakkaramuthu.' A director of three telefilms, telecast on Asianet a few years ago, the actor, who lived in Muscat for 13 years and is the mother of three, is busy learning more about cinema and acting in a couple of roles that are offered to her. Her ambition is to direct a full feature film.

Balachandra Menon, plays her husband in this movie. He has just received the Padma Sri and feels the time is ripe to start directing once again. He is planning his next movie.

The cinematographer is Jibu Jacob. The film has script by K.Gireesh Kumar and `Pranayakalam' is being produced by Medimix A.V.Anoop under the banner of AVA Productions. The film is slated to reach the theatres in June.

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