The prodigal son
Film director Leo Thaddeus' ‘Payyans,' which features Jayasurya in the lead, narrates the tale of a wayward youth who is made to see the error of his ways.
Mamma's boy:Jayasurya in ‘Payyans.'
‘P ayyans,' which releases today, is yet another young director's attempt to woo the box office with a light-hearted entertainer. But instead of bowing to the current trend of slapstick comedy, director Leo Thaddues gift wraps ‘Payyans,' his second film, as a “humour-filled” tale of a mother-son relationship that goes awry. The film narrates how Josy John, a problem child, every parent's worst nightmare, is forced to act his age and take responsibility for his actions.
“Josy is what can be called a reckless payyan (youth), a drifter who is adept at passing the buck. ‘Payyans' explores the relationship between parents and children, especially the relationship between the mother and the son,” says Leo, who debuted as a director with the “relatively serious” ‘Pachamarathanalil' in 2008, after working as an assistant director in ‘Udayon' and ‘Vellithira.'
Like his debut film, Leo has written the script for this film as well – something that he feels “helps” him while directing.
“In these globalised times, relationships are fickle. This applies to the parent-child relationship too. Where does one draw the line between being a parent and a friend? We all hear of generation gap, but should not children try to understand their parents? That said, should not parents also try to understand their children?” wonders Leo.
After going solo in last year's ‘Nallavan,' and significant roles in multi-starrers ‘Cocktail' and ‘Four Friends,' Jayasurya dons the mantle of the hero in ‘Payyans.' “I chose this role because of the character, not because it's a solo show. In fact, it's immaterial to me whether there are two heroes or 50 heroes. I enjoy essaying diverse roles. My only concern is what my role can do for a film. In ‘Payyans,' Josy is very like a lot of the youth we see these days. We can learn a lot from him and his mistakes,” says the actor, who acknowledges with a laugh that he had a ball playing a carefree flirt.
Apparently, Josy's “problems” start with the ‘disappearance' of his father, a marine engineer. His mother, who works for a shipping company, brought Josy up all by herself. She supports him in whatever he does – when he quits engineering college to start a business, when that business fails…Josy, meanwhile, takes it all for granted.
“Josy's role model is his father, having heard stories aplenty about him from his mother. His favourite lament is ‘If only my father was here…' He does not even think that he is responsible for his own plight,” says Jayasurya. Things take an interesting turn when Josy's long-lost father enters the picture.
Yesteryear actor Rohini plays Padma, Josy's long-suffering mother. “Padma is pictured as a youthful, modern-day mother. Yet she is old-fashioned in the sense that she is one of those typical mothers who gives importance to her son above anything else, turning a blind eye to his faults – perhaps to her detriment,” says Leo, adding: “Rohini amma – we've all taken to calling her amma because she was like a mother to each one of us on the set – is simply amazing. You would wish that all mothers were like this.” Lal stars as Josy's father, John Verghese, who decides to teach his son a few lessons in life.
Tamil-Telugu actor Anjali who created a stir with ‘Angadi Theru,' director Vasanthabalan's ode to salespeople who work in Chennai's Ranganathan Street, makes her debut in Mollywood in ‘Payyans.' Gone is the beribboned salesgirl Sermakkani of ‘Angadi Theru' and in comes the stylish Seema, a sound engineer at a radio station. Lalu Alex, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Janardhanan and Guinness Pakru are in the cast.
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