'Mere Pyaare Deshwasiyon is not a political film’
...says director Sandeep Ajith Kumar, as he discusses his latest film about the 'Aksharalaksham' programme conducted by the Kerala Literacy Mission
The subject of Sandeep Ajith Kumar’s new small-budget film Mere Pyaare Deshwasiyon has a resemblance to a real-life story we have come across recently — of a 96-year-old woman named Karthyayani Amma who got to write her Class 4 exam thanks to the ‘Aksharalaksham’ programme conducted by the Kerala Literacy Mission.
Sandeep’s film, however, features four to five middle-aged characters who want to write and clear their Class 10 exams. “These characters are mocked for their lack of educational qualifications and one day, they decide to rectify that. They bring in a tutor to help them. But then there are people who are not so supportive of this idea. We are basically trying to recreate the mood of village-set films like Ponmuttayidunna Tharavu and Mutharamkunnu P.O. There is a little bit of romance and nostalgia in the film. It’s neither a political film nor a slapstick comedy,” says the filmmaker.
The story, screenplay, and dialogues of this humour-tinged story has been written by Ismail Manjhali. While Ashkkar Soudaan, Nirmal Palazhy, and Neena Kurup play the main characters, the late KTC Abdullah, of Sudani from Nigeria-fame, has also done a part in the film. The actor had completed his dubbing just weeks before his demise.
On working with KTC Abdulla, Sandeep says, “He was an extremely patient man. Though he was going through some health problems, he never showed it outside. When I offered him the role, he told me he will do it as long as it doesn’t require him to exert himself. He came on set completely prepared. There was a time when things got a bit delayed and I was feeling bad for keeping him waiting. When I informed him about this, he didn’t make any fuss and proceeded to do his make-up. He didn’t like others having any inconvenience because of him. I was so moved.”
The makers are aiming for a February release for the film jointly produced by Remember Cinemas, Sai Productions and Anil Vellapillil.