Director Rosshan Andrrews: I don't seek script inputs from actors
Rosshan Andrrews talks about directing Prathi Poovankozhi and making his acting debut as the film's main antagonist
After 14 years behind the camera, director Rosshan Andrrews finally stepped in front of it, to play a perverted thug named Antappan in his latest film, Prathi Poovankozhi. The part was supposed to go to another actor but scheduling conflicts compelled Rosshan to play it himself. “My aim was to show Antappan as a despicable market rowdy who evokes fear in Madhuri (Manju Warrier) and also convey his criminal behaviour well,” says Rosshan.
So, has turning an actor made him more sensitive towards actors? “I was already sensitive before. I’ve always had an understanding of how an actor’s mind works. I made all my films so far by imagining myself in their shoes. I always made sure they were comfortable. I’ve been able to get the best out of my actors, right from Udayanaanu Thaaram to Prathi Poovankozhi. I didn’t have to turn an actor to understand them.”
When it came to evaluating his own performance, Rosshan handled the responsibility himself. “I didn’t ask others’ opinions about my performance. I directed myself. I looked at the monitor, did the shot divisions myself, put my assistant director in the right place and cleared everything with him. I then went and performed. When I got back to the monitor, if I felt that something was off, I'd go and correct it. That’s all.”
Rosshan was working on another film when Unni R brought him the subject of Prathi Poovankozhi. The story seed was taken one of Unni’s stories — Sankadam — and the title from another. “Sankadam is a story that could’ve been told in 15-20 minutes, but to convert it into a screenplay form, we incorporated additional cinematic sequences to turn it into an enjoyable film,” reveals Rosshan, who finished shooting it in 38 days.
Asked if he consulted his actors for their inputs considering the subject’s complicated nature, Rosshan says, “I don’t seek script inputs from my actors. I only involve them in matters concerning their performance. When it comes to the script, only the writer and I discuss it. With the ten films I’ve done so far, I never involved my actors in the scripting process.”
While making the film, Rosshan was unconcerned about the post-release social media discussions that the film might engender. “I make films that I like to do. If someone wants to see it, then we can tell them to buy a ticket. Simple. We can’t tell them anything else,” he says, adding, “When I do a film, I don’t let others’ opinions or comments affect me, be it positive or negative. My job is to entertain and make people think. Take my film Notebook, for example. I heard people boo in the theatres on the first day. But it ended up enjoying a 140-day run. Something similar happened with How Old Are You? as well.”
As far as Rosshan is concerned, his film should do something for the viewer. Prathi Poovankozhi, to him, is an eye-opener. “It’s a film that not just Kerala but also India should discuss,” he says. “It’s a statement on the male community. I didn’t see the film from someone else’s point of view. I made it from my point-of-view as a filmmaker. I always try to present my vision in the best way possible. It’s going to be that way in the future too.”
Rosshan has already begun the pre-production work of his next, a police drama set to star Dulquer Salmaan. The project reunites the director with his frequent collaborators, the screenwriting duo Bobby-Sanjay, with whom he has already worked seven times. This will be the team’s second police-based story after Mumbai Police (2013). Rosshan says it will be different from that film. The shoot is being planned for April 2020. Dulquer will also be producing it.