Jalasamadhi, an offbeat debut
Filmmaker Venu Nair opens about his debut feature, which revolves around senicide
After winning several accolades in India and abroad for his short films, documentaries, and television work, filmmaker Venu Nair is currently making his first full-fledged feature, Jalasamadhi. Scriptwriter Sethu has penned the film based on the novel, Adayalanghal.
Venu, who has been in the industry for 29 years, tells us that he has been planning a feature debut for a long time. "I had approached many people with the script, but all of them backed out because of its offbeat content. I got frustrated and finally decided to fund it myself. It was the experiences and acclaim I gained over the years that gave me the confidence to go ahead."
The film, based on the little-known practice of thalaikoothal (senicide), is set in a fictional village in the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Senicide is also practised in some other parts of the world. In Japan, for instance, it is known as ubasute.
"When the most senior person in the family becomes a financial liability, they are killed by their family members. Sometimes it is carried out after making the person unconscious. Sometimes it’s forced," explains Venu.
Jalasamadhi has noted Tamil actor MS Bhaskar playing the principal character. Venu calls Bhaskar’s performance in the film 'exceptional'. "I couldn’t picture anyone else in that role." Elaborating further on the character, Venu says, "It is a story of neglected people, who don’t intend to live anymore. Though many try to save him in the film, he remains disinterested. He is a person, who is willing to go the extent of sacrificing his life for the benefit of his children."
Shyam Krishnan, Akhil Kaimal, Likha Rajan and Renjith of Ottamuri Velicham fame will be playing important roles in the film. About Renjith's role, the director says, "He is an actor with so much potential. He has given an impactful performance in the film."
As of now, Venu is planning a release only in Kerala. The Tamil Nadu release will depend on the initial reaction. "There is not much Tamil spoken in the film," he says. "The Tamil lines in the film won’t be tough for Malayali audiences to comprehend. As I’m not fluent in Tamil myself, I’ve only used lines which I can understand. We are planning to include subtitles anyway."