I.V.Sasi is among the few directors who has been able to achieve critical acclaim and box-office success in Malayalam cinema. He has done over 130 films in a span of 31 years and has constantly delivered super hits and some of them classified as classics or good cinema. Sasi had made his debut as a director with Ulsavam and shot to fame after Avalude Ravukal. Last week, his 140th film Balram Vs Taradas released and it has been declared a super hit by the trade. Excepts of an interview with the veteran director
You must be relieved that Balram Vs Taradas is a super hit?
(Smiles)..Yes the film has taken the best ever opening for a Mammootty film in recent times. It is one of the costliest Malayalam film ever made at Rs 4 Crore including print and publicity. It is my 35th film with Mammootty after a gap of 15 years and the last film we did was “Neelagiri” in 1991.
You are one of the most successful director-actor combinations in Indian cinema. Please comment?
During the 70’s and 80’s, it was the golden age of Malayalam cinema when the script and story-telling were the most important factors than the gimmicks and superstar presentations of today. I have done some good films with Mammootty, like Trishna and later with M.T.Vasudevan Nair’s scripts in films like Aalkootathil Thaniye, Anubandham, Adiyozhukkukal, Padmarajan’s Kanamarayathu, Karimbin Poovinakkare, John Paul’s Athiratram, Lohithadas’ Mrigaya, Mukti and the maximum number with T.Damodaran like Vaartha, Avanazhi, Inspector Balram among others.
How was Balram Vs Taradas conceived?
Writers T.Damodaran and S.N Swamy were working on the script of Balram Vs Taradas for the last three years after producer Liberty Basheer got the nod from Mammootty to go ahead with the project.
It is a racy, edge-of-the-seat action drama in which Mammootty plays a dual role. It is for the first time in Indian cinema that two popular characters Balram (Avanazhi) and Taradas (Athirathram) from two different films coming face to face creating some exciting moments. The audience tastes have changed with times but good cinema should excite the minds. It is the style of story telling and representing it effectively on screen that matters the most when making a movie.
Tell us about your two protagonists Balram and Taradas?
In many ways Balram and Taradas, the two characters in the film is a challenge to Mammootty who has reinvented himself in recent commercials films. Right now, he is one actor with a great opening and his films work wonders at the Kerala box-office. The dual role that Mammootty plays is not clichéd that you normally see on screen. Both Balram and Taradas are strong characters who have their own ways of looking at life and dealing with problems. They are entirely different in attitude, looks, behavior and gait. It is Mammootty’s best ever performance in recent times and he has worked hard for it.
How did you give that rich look for the film?
Balram Vs Taradas is far superior to normal Malayalam films. A glossy touch has been given by cameraman Sanjeev Shankar and visually the film is stunning with songs and scenes shot in Dubai and the Malabar Coast. Katrina Kaif adds glamour to the proceedings She was apt for the role as she is the pivot around which the story takes a twist and she has done a neat job along with the supporting cast of Mukesh, Jagadhish, Siddique and others. The two songs in the film tuned by Jassie Gift are peppy with Afzal and Rimi Tomy in a dance number.
What are your future plans?
I am planning to do a film with Suresh Gopi which will be produced by an NRI.