'Sudraka's Mrichakatikam dealt with a pathbreaking and taboo subject'
...says Kannan Perumudiyoor, who is directing his first Sanskrit language film, which is a big screen adaptation of the 6th-century playwright's Sanskrit play
Kannan Perumudiyoor's Mrichakatikam, based on the Sanskrit play of the same name by 6th-century playwright Sudraka, is being made in the Sanskrit language and will be released with Malayalam and English subtitles.
The decision to have the dialogues in Sanskrit was to lend a sense of authenticity to the narrative and respect Sudraka's vision, says Kannan. "I opted for Sanskrit as a second language in my college and Mrichakatikam was one of the plays we had to study. It became an instant favourite; it has been in my mind for a long time, and I'd wanted to adapt it for the big screen. Everything has finally fallen into place now."
Mrichakatikam, Kannan's third film after Attakadha and Nerkazhcha, is shot in different places in Kerala like Ottappalam, Palakkad, and Kochi. The team had initially considered the possibility of shooting in Uttar Pradesh, but they realised it wouldn't be ideal as many areas have changed. Though the shoot is happening in Kerala, Kannan is making sure that the actors look and sound as authentic as possible. He has cast Bala, Neha Saxena, and Arja Banerjee as the principal characters Charudattan, Aditi and Vasantha Sena, respectively. Neena Kurup is also playing an important role.
The director adds that the reason to make the film now came out of an urge to tell a story that was apt for the current social climate aside from fulfilling a long-cherished dream. "It's the story of a Brahmin man falling in love with a prostitute. What Sudraka had created was way ahead of its time: a pathbreaking and taboo subject considering the age it was written in. I couldn't have found a better time to make a film out of it," he says.
The first schedule of Mrichakatikam, which began at Pattambi, has come to a close. The team is currently on a schedule-break and will resume filming soon.
The screenplay and dialogues of this film, jointly produced by Ajith Thumbapoo, Subeesh Sridharan, and VV Sreekuttan under the banners, Harisree Films International and Calliope Films, have been penned by Shathrugnan.