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Cinema within CINEMA

`Udayananu Tharam', a movie about tinsel kingdom, is readying for release. VIJAY GEORGE meets the crew on the last leg of the shooting schedule.

Mohanlal and Meena in Udayananu Tharam.

THIS IS one mantle that he can easily handle, with his kind of involvement, dedication and experience in the craft. But in an era when almost everyone from the spot boy to the hero dreams of turning a director someday, Mohanlal believes that "it requires unusual talent to direct a film."

But he is playing an assistant director, Udayabhanu, who is in the making of his maiden venture as an independent director, in the forthcoming film `Udayananu Tharam', slated to hit the theatres later this month.

On the final days of wrapping up of the shooting of the film, director Rosshan Andrews is giving instructions to the film's lead pair, Mohanlal and Meena, at the location in a plush housing colony near Vennala in Kochi. Some shots for a scene just before a song are being completed in the lush green meadows.

Cinematographer S.Kumar opts for a long-range shot first and after canning it, the camera comes closer to the stars to get their close up. Meena is enacting the role of an actress in the story, called Madhumathi.

"Udayananu Tharam is the story of a man's struggles, anxieties and dreams. Though with the story of actors and technicians this is a cinema within a cinema, there are only a couple of shots where shooting scenes are actually shown," says Rosshan, who has assisted such directors as Kamal and Shaji Kailas.

Screen characters

Sreenivasan has written the screenplay and dialogues. He also makes his appearance on screen as Rajappan Thengummoodu, who is desperate to make his entry into films as a hero, no less. Mukesh is producer Babykuttan, Jagathy Sreekumar is Pachalam Bhasi, an acting teacher, Indrans is Varkala Vijayan, a production manager and Cochin Haneefa is `Sona' Balan, another producer. Lohitadas is acting in the film as a director, whose character's name is Prathapan.

A major portion of the film has been shot in Ramoji film city in Hyderabad. Chennai and Munnar were the other locations, besides Kochi.

Actress Bhavana, who plays a cameo as a heroine in the film, feels that it was fun being part of film, "though mine is a guest appearance."

Is the director, the real star in a film? "Of course. The film's title is an example for this theory," says Rosshan, who has a solid theatre background.

Mohanlal agrees with him. "Just like a chef, a director can make a good film or just kill it," is what he believes.

The location now shifts to Kaloor. A jumbo-sized cutout of Sreenivasan, as a dancer, is there on the roadside. Beneath his picture, in bold letters it has been written "Superstar Saroj Kumar - in and as `Natanarajavu'". Sarojkumar, if you wonder, is the screen name of Rajappan Thengummoodu. Well, his dreams have come true, it seems.

The photograph is enough to bring in a smile in the faces of all those who pass by. The camera has been placed at the top of a nearby building. Not many there know that a shooting is going on, of course, until Mohanlal comes in. Before they realise what is going on there, Lal pelts a stone at the picture of Sarojkumar. The shot has been okayed in just one take and the crew returns to the nearby hotel, where they stay.

Heroine's life

The heroine Madhumathi in the film has to go through several tough hurdles. Is the life off the glitz and glamour of the cine world, a difficult one for most of the stars? "Fortunately for me, I do have a normal life, thanks to my family. Still, I too have heard many stories about the kind of struggles that the screen gods and goddesses have to face, in actual lives, off screen. But it's not fair to imagine that the plight of everyone is the same," says Meena.

According to Rosshan, "Sreenivasan's films have almost always been successful in making the viewers think even while they share the mood and emotions of the characters. In `Udyanananu Tharam' too, the attempt has been the same."

C.Karunakaran has produced the film under the banner of Carlton films. Kaithapram's lyrics have been set to tune by Deepak Dev.

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