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Exploring genres

VIJAY GEORGE

V.K. Prakash talks about his forthcoming releases `Three Kings,' `Karmayogi,' and more.



BACK IN ACTION: V.K. Prakash (bottom right); scenes from his movies `Three Kings' (top), and `Karmayogi.'

It is his incessant passion for cinema that urges director V.K. Prakash to try out new vistas each time he interacts with the medium. The ad filmmaker, who made his debut in feature films with the award winning movie `Punaradhivasam,' has experimented with a wide variety of themes in different languages. Of course, he had his share of highs and lows at the box office, but Prakash never lets failure dampen his spirits.

After `Gulumaal,' his last film in Malayalam, the director is ready with two films, a comedy titled `Three Kings' and `Karmayogi' based on Shakespeare's `Hamlet.' He is candid when he talks about the state of affairs in the industry where a comedy film is a hot property, while not many are interested in movies that handle serious themes. Excerpts from an interview with the filmmaker.

Which one of the two forthcoming releases, `Three Kings' and `Karmayogi,' is the closest to your heart?

Both the films have been approached in different ways, according to the subject. I enjoy making comedies as well as sensitive films. Having grown up watching Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aravindan, A.B. Raj, Sasikumar, and many other filmmakers who have tried various genres, it is the process of making a film that I enjoy the most. To answer your question, it is difficult for me to pick any one of the two as my favourite.

What is `Three Kings' all about?

`Three Kings' is a laugh riot. It is about three cousins who are out to make money in the shortest possible time. They can't stand each other. Kunchacko Boban, Indrajith and Jayasurya play the male leads while Ann Augustine, `Kaadhal' Sandhya and Samvritha Sunil have been paired as their love interests. `Karmayogi' belongs to a completely different genre, right?

Absolutely. `Karmayogi' is based on William Shakespeare's `Hamlet.' We have adapted the story into an Indian backdrop. I studied at the School of Drama, Thrissur, and making a film based on a play was fascinating. Indrajith, Padmini Kolhapure, Nithya Menon, `Thalaivasal' Vijay, Saiju Kurup, Manikkuttan, and Ashokan are in the cast.

What attracts you to a script?

When I listen to a story, something should be there in it that excites me. For instance, in `Punaradhivasam,' the sensitivity in the script enthused me. It was the whacky subject of `Freaky Chakra,' the romantic picturisation that resembled a poem in `Mullavalliyum Thenmaavum,' the action in `Police,' the horror in `Moonnamathoraal,' the love story in `Phir Kabhi,' the strength of the writing in Jayaprakash Kooloor's play in `Aidu Ondla Aidhu,' and the intensity of the subject in `Karmayogi,' that attracted me. It was perhaps the child in me that made me go ahead with `Three Kings.'

But then `Gulumaal' was evidently inspired by Fabian Bielinsky's `Nine Queens' and the buzz is that `Three Kings' has been inspired from Stanley Kramer's `It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.' How true is that?

I discovered the `Nine Queens' connection only after I liked the subject of `Gulumaal.' Most of us have grown up watching `It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.' The inspiration element is limited to that in `Three Kings.'

Isn't it annoying to learn that a film like `Karmayogi' has not many takers?

Of course. It's not that genuine films are not being made here, but it is tough to get theatres and the audience interested in it. Everybody tends to point fingers at filmmakers for not experimenting but such films have no takers. Everyone talks at length about the crisis in the industry, but this is the actual crisis and it's not about the lack of talent, stories or passion. Most of the producers who make serious films are doing it out of passion even though they are aware that it is not easy to recover their investment. We have to understand that this situation is happening in such a gifted industry. When I am asked if the visual richness in my films is due to my experience making ad films, I always say that it is actually the influence of old Malayalam films, which I watched while growing up - films such as `Olavum Theeravum,' `Bhargavi Nilayam,' `Chembarathi,' `Chaayam' and the original `Neelathamara.' It is only now that films have become completely dialogue oriented.

Why are you shying away from making films with the superstars?

(Laughs) I am yet to get a suitable subject for the superstars. In fact, I am planning a film with Mammootty as the hero, but things are yet to be finalised.

Filmography

‘Punaradhivasam' (2000)

‘Mullavalliyum Thenmaavum' (2003)

‘Freaky Chakra' (2003) (Hindi)

‘Police' (2005)

‘Moonnamathoraal' (2006)

‘Positive' (2008)

‘Phir Kabhi' (2009) (Hindi)

‘Kavya's Diary' (2009) (Telugu)

‘Gulumaal' (2009)

‘Aidu Ondla Aidhu' (2010) (Kannada)

‘Three Kings' (2011)

‘Karmayogi' (2011)

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