"Dileep wanted no compromises on story quality"
The actor's Shubarathri, will be arriving in theatres this Saturday. Ahead of its release, director Vyasan K P talks to Express about collaborating with the actor and the true story that inspired it
Some real-life stories, on first glance, may not have a cinematic potential in them but a possibility may slowly reveal itself on the second or third look.
We are told Dileep’s new film, Shubarathri, is based on one such story. “An incident happened in a village called Clappanna, Kollam,” says director Vyasan KP. “One night, a robbery took place in the home of a man named Kunjumoideen, which became the basis for our film. It’s about how that night impacts the life of a married couple portrayed by Dileep and Anu Sithara.”
Siddique’s character Mohammed—a devout and good-hearted man—is modelled on Kunjumoideen. Dileep is Krishnan, a workshop owner whose life is turned upside down by the incident. Anu plays the latter’s wife. Krishnan married her against her parents’ wishes.
Adding a little further on the plot, Vyasan says, “This incident happens on the same night Mohammed is preparing to go for Hajj for the first time in his life. He is 62 years old, and it took him that long to make that decision as he didn’t think he was physically and mentally prepared to undertake it much earlier. This robbery disrupts that. This is where Krishnan’s actual story begins. He has an unpleasant past that comes back to haunt him.”
The story idea came to Vyasan from an article written long ago by an advocate named Ajayakumar. “A friend of mine suggested the cinematic possibilities of the subject, but I kept it aside for two years. After I finished Ayaal Jeevichirippundu (his directorial debut), I was seeking material for my next script and this paper cutting suddenly popped up in my head. I decided it was going to be my next subject. I approached it realistically, without going for any gimmicks,” he recalls.
Vyasan had initially narrated the story to director B Unnikrishnan and Dileep. But the latter approached Vyasan and agreed to do it only much later. He always had Siddique in mind for the role of Mohammed. “But I hadn’t informed Siddique about it first. It was Unnikrishnan who called up Siddique and told him I had him in mind for the role. Interested, Siddique called me later demanding to hear the story. He loved it too. But still, nothing was finalised yet at that point. We didn’t even know if it was a commercially viable project as it’s not something like Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel (KSBV). It’s more of a simple family-oriented story.”
It was after producer Aroma Mohan came on board that the project started gaining traction. “Dileep’s involvement cleared every hindrance in our path,” says Vyasan. “It was really a surprise because he had just come off a big film like KSBV. He told me, ‘Just because I’m acting in this, don’t make any compromises on the story’s quality for my sake. It’s the story I came for.’”