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A romantic interlude

VIJAY GEORGE

Blessy's candid take on the location of his new film ‘Pranayam.'

PHOTO: H. VIBHU

Exploring the different shades of love: Director Blessy.

With some well made films that narrated the nuances of relationships, Blessy made his mark as a filmmaker who dared to be different. Films such as ‘Kazhcha,' ‘Thanmathra,' ‘Palunku,' ‘Calcutta News' and ‘Bhramaram' were able to touch the hearts of viewers.

His latest film, ‘Pranayam,' has Mohanlal, Anupam Kher and Jayaprada in the lead roles. It's a love story, which he says, “is different from the ones that we have seen in Malayalam until now.”

In an exclusive interview, at the location of the film in Fort Kochi, the writer-director talks about ‘Pranayam' and more.

What is ‘Pranayam' all about?

'Pranayam' (love) is everywhere around us. It is a sentiment that attains depth as we delve deeper into the feeling. Be it in literature or in movies, ‘love' has been a universal subject, and as a writer my attempt has been to narrate a love story that has never been told before. In the story, we are mainly talking about a woman and two men. It is about the love that she shares with them and a relationship that evolves beyond the ordinary. It's definitely not another triangular love story and actually it is where the climax of the story begins. I can't reveal more about the storyline, right now.

About the main characters in the film

Anupam Kher plays Achutha Menon, a football player who had got selected in the State team but could never play for the team. He moulded his life and career to accommodate the romance in his life. Jayaprada's character enacts a character called Grace Mathews, the wife of a philosophy professor named Mathews, played by Mohanlal. Anoop Menon essays the role of Suresh Menon, Achutha Menon's son.

Is ‘Pranayam' mainly about love, relationships, and their intensity?

It is based on the minute aspects and depth in relationships. Like the bond between a father and his children, husband and wife, mother and children…

The relationships assume different meanings with every individual. The same person can be a husband, father, friend, son or lover, depending on his relationship with the other person.

How did the story happen?

This is a storyline that has been in my mind for more than 25 years. I had discussed the storyline with writer-director Lohitadas, during the making of his ‘Joker,' in which I was the associate director. He had told me about how he had envisaged Mathews.

After ‘Bhramaram,' I had starting writing a story based on a few youngsters but didn't feel excited about it after a while as lots of similar stories were flooding theatres. Suddenly this theme came back into my mind. The interesting thing about this script is that even before I started writing it, what I had in my mind was its last frame. So I started developing the journey back from the last frame and completed it.

Why did you choose Anupam Kher and Jayaprada along with Mohanlal for the lead roles?

The three characters in the film needed to balance each other and convey certain subtle emotions. It was the faces of these fabulous actors that came to my mind.

Do you feel that ‘Bhramaram' wasn't accepted the way it should have been done?

Yes, I do feel it didn't evoke the kind of response that it should have got. I think the viewers are not watching enough good films or perhaps, the psyche of the viewers have changed.

Looking back, what went wrong with ‘Palunku' and ‘Calcutta News'?

‘Palunku' showed the effects of globalisation on a family and the change in their attitudes. I do feel that the intensity of relationships has taken a beating, especially during the recent years. We have started building walls even within our own families and the film dealt with that aspect. But perhaps when relationships weaken, people fail to understand the degree of those emotions.

‘Calcutta News' remains as a disturbing memory in my mind and I went through lots of tension during its making. The focus was on black magic but then it got diverted into other aspects and that proved fatal to the film.

Finally, what should the audience expect as they await the release of ‘Pranayam'?

‘Pranayam' conveys certain fine emotions, subtle but life-giving, like each breath we take.

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