WITH five State film awards for "Thanmatra", director Blessy Ipe Thomas is the star of the Malayalam film industry. The film, produced by Raju Mathews, deals sensitively with the travails of Rameshan Nair, who has Alzheimer's Disease and his family. The strength of "Thanmatra" is its ability to blend fact and fiction.
The film appeals at many levels. It depicts the stress of the middle-class and their dreams, the pressure on children to excel, of family bonding and finally the trauma when shared memories fade and the family comes to terms with an illness that erases memories that bind them to each other.
The superb casting makes it a one-of-a-kind film. It won the award for best film, best director, best script, best actor and a special mention. The director says that he had been carrying this movie in him for 10 years. "I was inspired by my guru P. Padmarajan's short story called `Orma', which revolved around loss of memory and its effects."
In fact, Blessy is more pleased with the award for the best script than the one for the best director. He points out that as a student of Zoology in Marthoma College "he had not written even a short story for his college magazine."
With two hits and a handful of awards, Blessy has come a long way from the time he desperately tried to get a foothold in the industry. "My romance with films began at a early age. I must have been 13 when I told my mother that I wanted to be a filmmaker. I never missed even one movie screened at Deepa theatre in Thiruvalla near my house."
Blessy recalls that he was on the verge of suicide when he was taken as assistant director by the late film director and author Padmarjan for the film "Namakku Parkanmunthiri Thoppukal" in 1986. "I learnt the craft of filmmaking from him. But most importantly, I understood the necessity for a good script and a storyline. I want the family audience to come back to the theatres. `Thanmatra' was able to do both. There is an audience for good cinema."
The director is not planning to rest on his laurels. "Each film is like my debut. My next film will be completely different."
Send this article to Friends by