‘The protagonists in Vimaanam are aircraft and location’
...says director Pradeep Nair, who debuts with the Prithviraj-starrer Vimaanam
The greatest challenge before director Pradeep Nair, who will soon make his debut with the Prithviraj-starrer Vimaanam, was the 'vimaanam' itself. "The first thing I plunged into after finishing the rough script was researching about the flights. The aircraft is the protagonist. I read all I could do about aircrafts, saw visuals and consulted SKJ Nair, a former fighter pilot, before deciding on the model for the movie," says Pradeep.
As his dream literally takes wings, the director gives us a sneak peek.
Being a Kottayam native, Pradeep had heard about how Saji Thomas, a hearing-impaired school drop-out from his district, had made a light-weight aircraft. The tale, unto itself, was inspiring for Pradeep, who had always been drawn to the idea of unconventional thinking, ever since he read Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach during his college days. "I met Saji at his home and bought the copyright for his story in 2014. I wanted this to be my movie. But then, the thread and script was in my mind ever since I read Bach's work," he adds.
The script was re-drafted many times before a bound screenplay was presented to Prithviraj. "Prithviraj was busy shooting for Sapthamasree Thaskaraha when I met him. He listened to the narrative and immediately expressed interest. Then, I began the hunt for a producer. Luckily, Listin Stephen had heard about the work and approached me. Magic Frames is a great banner to be associated with," he adds.
If you thought Vimaanam was just an inspirational movie, think again. "In fact, Vimaanam has a strong romantic track as well. One can even call it a period romance drama. It has a feel-good factor too," says Pradeep.
He is impressed by the dedication Prithviraj showed. "Prithviraj loved the script. The only demand he put forth was that since the movie involved him playing a 20-year-old, he needed time to shed weight. I was only happy to agree. We shot in many schedules, but Prithviraj ensured that the continuity of the scenes were not lost," he says.
Vimaanam will have a new face as the lead lady - Durga Krishnan will make her debut in Malayalam with the film.
Now that the script and casting was done, the important part was the aircraft. For, the aircraft and the locations held so much significance. "We decided on five ultralight aircraft. But then, to tell the world about the aircraft, I had to learn about it first. I referred to every available book on the subject. The whole process was taxing, but there could be no compromise, as it is the soul of the story," he adds.
Equally significant were the locations. The movie was shot in Mangalore, Bhatkal, Kochi, Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram. "I scouted a lot for the perfect location. I needed a place with a shoreline and sea gulls, but where a flight could take off and land. I explored the Konkan areas and was amazed at seeing Bhatkal. It was exactly what I had in mind," says Pradeep.
The movie, the post production work of which is in its final stage, will hit the screens next month.