I can't write Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum again: Sajeev Pazhoor
The writer discusses his latest film Sathyam Paranjha Vishwasikkuvo, starring Biju Menon and Samvrutha Sunil, which releases tomorrow
Sajeev Pazhoor tells me he still comes across people who think Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum (TMD) is his first script. An author and ex-journalist, the screenwriter has been in the film industry for 15 years, planning scripts and assisting directors. An early association with director Shaji N Karun resulted in Swapaanam, which starred Jayaram as a chenda artiste.
But it was the critical and commercial acclaim of TMD that brought him recognition. One minor downside of this, he notes, is that anything he writes after that is expected to be just like it. He hopes his new film, Sathyam Paranjha Vishwasikkuvo (SPV)—directed by G Prajith and starring Biju Menon and Samvrutha Sunil—is not compared to TMD. “I can’t write TMD again. I don’t see the point in repeating it,” he says.
Though the script of TMD took him more than a decade to develop, SPV didn’t take that long. It was written right after TMD came out. “TMD was a complicated project which I was very confident about,” he explains. “The subject had stronger politics. We could’ve gone with either an academic approach or a slapstick one. It took some time to decide that a blend of both was the best approach. There was also the matter of keeping the audience engaged for two hours with a story that took place mainly in and around a police station.”
SPV, he says, is more family-oriented than TMD. But some serious issues will be addressed nevertheless. Its central theme is alcohol addiction. Biju Menon plays a mason and Samvrutha Sunil—making her comeback after seven years—plays his wife. “The film is about the repercussions of leading an irresponsible life. If you look at some of the daily wage workers, they work on one particular day and once they finish, they have a great time. This process is then repeated the next day. They’re not bothered too much about the future. For them, everything is a celebration, be it a wedding or funeral. So, naturally, this attitude can sometimes create problems in their own household. The villain or saviour in this film can be an individual’s wrong thoughts and the incidents caused as a result. We have used this couple’s household to represent many similar households in Kerala. Samvrutha represents many housewives living here. We are not trying to tell people to stop drinking through this film—it’s impossible—but rather stressing the importance of doing it responsibly.”
When asked about the challenge of depicting alcoholism today on-screen, Sajeev says, “I can’t agree with the senseless recommendations made by some authorities who clearly don’t have a grasp on reality. We have to show reality as it is.”
While he doesn’t feel the pressure to be politically correct he doesn’t believe in forcefully incorporating messages either. “Society is a mix of both negative and positive elements. So we can’t simply depict one side of it. If we go with that attitude, our world-view would become very narrow. But one interesting thing that came out of all these debates is that we are slowly seeing the emergence of filmmakers who take on subjects that wouldn’t have been possible to do many years ago,” he says.
Sajeev cites Ishq and Uyare as perfect examples. “There is an attempt being made today to present unexplored topics effectively on the screen. It’s all good as long as nothing is forced.”
Despite being an employee of the Information & Public Relations Department, Sajeev makes sure that he is involved in the production of every film he writes. Like TMD, SPV is a very personal work for him. “I’m very particular about how the film turns out. As Prajith happens to be a dear friend, we had been planning to do a film together for the past six years. So I always try to help in whatever way I can. And because I used to be an associate director once, I can easily do it again if the need arises.”
The film has been certified with a U and will be releasing on Friday.