'Old-school love stories have their own charm'
....says director AK Sajan, who is back with Neeyum Njanum, a love triangle featuring Sharaf U Dheen, Anu Sithara, and Siju Wilson
AK Sajan says his new film is a mature, old-school love story. Known for writing mostly violent thrillers, Sajan made his directorial debut with the Prithviraj-starrer Stop Violence. Neeyum Njanum sees him writing and directing a full-fledged romance drama for the first time. The film has cleared the censors with a clean ‘U’ certificate.
Not a complete stranger to romantic dramas, Sajan has co-written, with brother AK Santhosh, two of them in the 90s — Meenathil Thalikettu and Anuraga Kottaram. “My wife joked that after writing crime thrillers in my younger days I’m finally writing a love story in my middle age (laughs). Maybe it’s the effect of getting older.” However, as with all his other scripts, Neeyum Njanum will be marked by moments of intense conflict too, with characters encountering seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Making a traditional love story in this technology-driven age is not easy, he admits. “It’s a challenge when you’re from an older generation. No matter how much you say you have updated yourself, your mind is stuck in the era you came from. Your thoughts and feelings are shaped by the experiences you grew up with. I come from the time of letters, flowers, and discreet meetings. That’s all gone now. Now it’s all WhatsApp and Facebook. The imagination power of young lovers today has become weak. Old-school love stories have their own charm. It is possible to do something fresh with old ideas. Films like Ennu Ninte Moideen proved that there is still an audience for such stories.”
Sajan took inputs from the cast and crew to get an idea of how things work today. “It was a collaborative effort. When you’re writing a story like that, it helps to listen to and understand the perspectives of people younger than you. I had to check if something I wrote was working or not. Siyad Koker (the producer) and I were the only older people working on the film. The rest of them are all youngsters,” he says.
The director feels that the script-writing process has become more complicated today as opposed to the olden days. “Today, you don’t know what is going to offend somebody. You have to be very careful of what you write. Something that seems politically correct to you may not seem so to someone else. Though Neeyum Njanum is mostly a feel-good film, it will be addressing some serious social issues too,” he adds.