'Mammootty was a reference book for me'
...says scriptwriter-turned-director Sethu, whose Oru Kuttanadan Blog is slated for an Onam release
Among the list of eagerly anticipated Onam releases is the Mammootty-starrer Oru Kuttanadan Blog, helmed by scriptwriter-turned-director Sethu. With 98 per cent of the shooting done, the director talks to us about the film's characters, narrative structure, and his transition from writing to directing.
Oru Kuttanadan Blog is set in a fictional Kuttanadan village called Krishnapuram, and Mammootty's character is someone mentioned in a blog. "The film is told from the viewpoint of a blogger (Sanju Sivram) and a reader (Sunny Wayne). Sanju's blog is an account of the various happenings in his village and when Sunny reads it from abroad, he feels nostaglic."
Sethu's aim was to make a positive, feel-good film that gives importance to relationships and emotions, but without any loud messages. On Mammootty's character, the filmmaker says, "Hari is seen as a role model by many -- a likeable, easy-going and open-minded man. When he returns after a long stay abroad, his arrival is celebrated by everyone. He is someone who understands the generation gap and gets along with both the old and new. He is one among us, someone we may have seen around."
Working with Mammootty was a great learning experience, says Sethu. "Mammootty was like a reference book for me. Each and every thing he does is like a mini tutorial. All the subtle variations, gestures, and mannerisms teach you a lot."
There are three female leads in the film, played by Anu Sithara, Shamna Kasim, and Raai Laxmi, respectively. "These are women that Hari comes across. Shamna plays a police officer. She is neither a stereotypical female character nor a negative one. She is just an ordinary woman with her own problems, and is fascinated by Hari."
Having worked as a scriptwriter on films like Mallu Singh, Achayans, and Cousins, Sethu didn't find the transition to directing all that challenging. "It's not that difficult, believe me. I find writing more challenging than directing, actually. Once you have a solid script in place with all the necessary details, it's not such a big deal to translate everything on to the screen. You have to be specific about what you want and be fully aware of what you're doing. And filmmaking is a group activity: you need the input and collaboration of everyone involved in the process. I was actually able to finish everything ahead of schedule."
Sethu shot the film in sync-sound. A few portions, featuring Sunny Wayne, are going to be shot abroad. "We initially thought of filming those portions in London or Georgia, but now we are planning to do it in either Singapore or the UAE. It will be a three-day shoot and we're planning to start by July 10."