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Kamal’s ‘Minnaminnikootam’ delves into the world of techies.
I have always tried to strike a balance between commercial success and what I call ‘personal cinema.’
Bonding: ‘Minnaminnikootam’ brings together some of the best young talent in the Malayalam film industry.
Today, veteran director Kamal will again reach out to the youth in Kerala with a colourful movie that logs into the world of techies. Director of such blockbusters as ‘Niram,’ ‘Nammal, ‘Swapnakoodu’ and ‘Goal,’ Kamal’s ‘Minnaminnikootam’ unspools the story of eight IT professionals and their fast-paced lives.
While many so-called youthful films flounder at the box office, Kamal’s slickly made films have managed to cater to youngsters. Packed with swinging songs, picturesque locales, carefully designed sets and costumes, Kamal’s extravaganzas have tapped a viewership that is hooked on to Bollywood and Kollywod fare.
“I feel that the Malayali who is steeped in nostalgia often overlooks the contemporary world around him. We have to take into account that cinema has changed, viewers have changed and their attitudes towards cinema have changed. So one has to acknowledge that change to strike a chord with the young audience who are familiar with world wide trends,” explains Kamal.
His ‘Minnaminnikootam’ delves into the life of the techies who also happen to be good friends.
“Their high pressure jobs, friendship, romance, misunderstandings and anxieties form the pivot of the story. Their high incomes help them enter a world of branded consumerism but it does not insulate them from the pleasures and sorrows of life. Circumstances, competition and eroding values test the bonds of friendship among the friends and change their lives,” narrates Kamal.
Sidhaarth (Indrajith) and Mumtaz (Samvrutha Sunil), are a young couple and their house becomes the favourite hangout of the friends. Charulatha (Meera Jasmine), Rose Mary (Roma), Kalyani (Radhika), Manikunju (Jayasurya), Abhishek (Narain), Parthasarathy and (Anoop Chandran) are the other characters in the film.
Was it difficult to work with this group of talented youngsters?
“No. I constantly interact with them and am always open to suggestions,” he says.
Although P. Sukumar is known to be Kamal’s favourite cinematographer, ‘Minnaminnikootam’ has been filmed by Manoj Pillai. “Sukumar is busy with his work on ‘Twenty Twenty.’ That is why I decided to opt for Manoj, an excellent cameraman himself. His fresh frames have certainly helped in retaining the premise of the film,” says Kamal.
Manoj feels that a cinematographer’s job is to visually interpret the director’s vision. “Kamal is a seasoned director who has proved, over and over again, that he has the knack of telling all kinds of stories. But many of his youth-oriented films have made him a familiar name on the campuses in Kerala. So it was a pleasure to work with him,” says Manoj, winner of the Kerala State film award for his work in ‘Kaiyoppu.’
Kamal feels he has a wining combination in Anil Panachooran and Bijibal, lyricist and music composer respectively, who had hit the limelight with their compositions in ‘Arabikatha.’
“We had released the audio-cassettes some time back and the feedback has been encouraging. In fact, music to my ears,” says Kamal, laughing. But then Kamal’s films have always stood out for his interesting selection of compositions, lyrics and notes. Moreover, he is one of the few directors in Malayalam cinema who seems to pay attention to the costumes worn by the characters and has a sense of colour. “The youth in Kerala have become fashion conscious. They ape their counterparts in the metros. I often feel that the pavada-jacket-clad heroines in our movies exist only in the silver screen. Even in rural areas, one is likely to see girls wearing salwar-kameez. I am a keen observer and I am particular that my sets and costumes reflect the background the story is set in. In this film too, we had devised a colour palette that would harmonise with the corporate environment. Costumes, sets and interiors were designed in tune with this palette,” says Kamal.
His eye for detail is also evident in his other films that are worlds apart from his candy floss movies.
Striking a balance
“I have always tried to strike a balance between commercial success and what I call ‘personal cinema.’ I feel it is important for a director to test his mettle at the box office too. So I try to make both kinds of films. There is no denying the fact that there is creativity in both the genres. But my levels of personal satisfaction go up a notch or two when I make a ‘Manju Pole Oru Penkutty,’ ‘Perumazhakalam or ‘Karuthapakshikal,’” admits Kamal who bagged the National award for the best family film. Expressing his happiness over the award, Kamal adds: “I feel ‘Karuthapakshikal’ did not get its due when the Kerala State Film awards were declared. So, the award is certainly a morale booster.”
More than awards and box office collections, his films prove that Kamal’s success is not a flash in the pan. It has more to do with his skills as a director and scenarist. Skills that promise to strike gold again with ‘Minnaminnikootam.’
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