A day after his debut directorial venture Take Off won two prestigious honours at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), filmmaker Mahesh Narayanan is obviously excited. Parvathy, who played the female lead in the movie, won the best actress award and Mahesh Narayanan, who was a well-known editor before turning director, got the Special Jury award.
In an exclusive chat with sify.com, the filmmaker talks about his film, the awards and the issues that he has faced while making it.
How thrilled are you right now?
It’s a great honour. We were competing with such celebrated International movies and to win two awards is pretty unbelievable (smiles). It’s a huge recognition for a regional language film to have received this kind of an appreciation.
Can you quickly take us through the journey of Take Off once again?
Take Off is essentially based on the rescue operation that actually happened in 2014 where a group of nurses were rescued from Iraq following the ISIS attack. But in fact, Take Off is not just limited to the rescue operation and it is about the life of a nurse named Sameera. The basic plot was about the issues that a middle class woman faces when she has to hide her pregnancy from her older child. Take Off actually took off after the demise of my friend, director Rajesh Pillai (who directed Traffic). We decided to use the premise and set it in the backdrop of the rescue operation. We actually talked to those nurses who were rescued in the process.
How did Parvathy become part of Take Off?
The development of Take Off happened step by step and Parvathy was part of the whole journey. I feel being part of this process has helped her in performing her character so effectively and with so much depth.
What were the difficulties that you faced considering the controversial nature of the topic that you were handling?
In fact, Take Off faced Censorship issues in most countries except India. The film was banned in Kuwait, just hours before the show. Almost ten minutes of the movie had to be cut in UAE and there were fatwas in Saudi. We were asked to blur the IS flag in UK.
How did Take Off fare at the box office?
Take Off has been well received at the box office and the film is a profitable venture, on financial terms.
What next for Take Off?
Take Off has been selected in the ‘Malayalam Cinema Today’ category at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), which begins on Dec 8.