By Srikumar G
Director Lal Jose is affectionately called 'Lallu' by his parents and friends. That doesn't mean that the similarity between him and Laloo Prasad Yadav, the controversial former Chief Minister of Bihar ends there, according to the young director. "My fortunes are inexplicably fluctuated with that of Bihar's Laloo, says Lal in a half joking vein. When he started his debut venture, 'Oru Maravathoor Kanavu' three years ago, the odds were against him. Interestingly, Laloo too seemed star crossed then. Almost all newspaper headlines were read like this : 'Laloo in Trouble', 'Laloo Concedes Defeat', and so on. But somehow Laloo could soon extricate himself from a potential political disaster. He was granted bail and came out of jail. Like Laloo our very own Lal Jose could survive on all difficulties and he successfully completed his maiden film 'Oru Maravathoor Kanavu', starring Mammootty and Divya Unni, which was an instant hit and it catapulted him to the limelight. In an informal chat at the set of his third film 'Randam Bhavam', Lal shares his experiences in film making and talks about his dream debut.
Q: You have already two films to your credit. How do you rate these two films with regard to your career?
A: For a director, his second film is more challenging and strenuous than his maiden film. In my case, it is rather true to the core. It was not a one man show. I can't claim the entire credit for its success. The film had the advantage of a script penned by none other than Srinivasan. More than anything else I had the opportunity to cast Mammootty as the Hero.
Q: You seem to be particular about selecting subjects with a difference. In Maravathoor Kanavu, you presented Mammootty, whose forte is serious roles, with humor touches. But in your second film, Chandranudikkunna Dikkil, Dilip, who shines in comedy situations, had an auro of seriousness throughout. Was this change intentional?
A: It was not intentional. Everyone has his own perspectives. I had only tried to tell a story keeping the tastes of the viewers according to that perspectives. Chandy, Mammootty's character was very different and strong. Dilip's character in my second film was also very distinct. Dilip was not very serious throughout. In the first part he was at his best in humorous situations.
Q: It took nearly one and a half year to arrive at Chandranudikkunna Dikkil from Oru Maravathoor Kanavu. Why this long gap?
A: The story line of 'Chandranudikkunna Dikkil' was in my mind ever since I started shooting for Maravathoor kanavu. Meanwhile I did get many offers. But I could not say yes to any of them. When a story begins to form in mind, I would fully occupy with it. If I go after any other stories, this might have been stagnated. Moreover, when I choose this subject, I had great expectations, a feeling that I could do a lot for that. For that I was ready to go to any extent. It was really a thrill to get prepared for this project.
Q: Had the viewers' response too live upto your expectations?
A: To an extent. Still I was not disappointed. Many congratulated me for this film. It also did well in the box office.
Q: In Chandranudikkunna Dikkil, you introduced Kavya Madhavan as heroin. It was a dare venture to cast her as the lead. What made you choose Kavya Madhavan for it?
A: When I started this project, I had Shalini in my mind. But I knew that she could not be available for the project. Since she had some other commitments then. So I began to search for a suitable face and it ended up in Kavya.
Q: About Kavya?
A: She is very talented. I knew her ever since she came to act as a child artist in Kamal's 'Azhakiya Ravanan'. She dances well and can go a long way in this field.
Q: You seem to be very lucky that you got early break as a fulfledged director?
A: Certainly. But I gained a lot of experience as assistant director to nearly ten directors including Kamal and Lohita Das.
Q: You seem to be fond of exotic locations and your films tend to be location based?
A: Of course. I like beautiful places and used to travel a lot. But I can't agree with the opinion that the stories are location based. When I see a location, I would try to exploit the available paraphernalia around a location. You can see it expecially in my song sequences.
Q: What about your new project?
A: Randam Bhavam. It is a new subject. Suresh Gopi acts as a renegade underworld don. Fear is the theme of the film. Through this film, I am introducing Ranjan Pramad as the script writer.
As he was about to leave to the sets, he stopped a while staring at a photograph of Laloo Prasad Yadav, printed on the cover of a magzine and appealed: "Brother, you live your own life. But don't cause me more headaches."