The world of ghosts

Veteran director Suresh Unnithan is putting the final touches to his film, Kshanam, which will be released next month
The world of ghosts

At the Film Employees Federation of Kerala office at Kochi, director Suresh Unnithan met scriptwriter Sreekumar Arookutty who said, “Sir, I want to narrate a story to you.”

So they stepped to one side,  and Sreekumar quickly narrated the gist. It is the story of two girls. One girl has been murdered but she had always wanted to live. The other does not want to live, moves around with a petrol can, and wants to kill herself. “The first one is a ghost,” says Suresh. “The other girl lives in the present.”

Suresh was intrigued. He believes in spirits, ghosts, and the afterlife. That’s because he had a personal experience. A few years ago, when he was going through a bad time, his mother appeared in a dream and told him, “You will get work. Don’t worry.”

This turned out to be true. After 12 years, in 2013, Suresh made a comeback with Ayaal. Director Lal and Iniya played the leads. Suresh won the Kerala State Film Award (Special Mention) in Direction (2014) while Lal won the Best Actor Award.

Meanwhile, after mulling over what Sreekumar said, Suresh decided to make the film, which is called Kshanam. The film stars Ajmal and Bharath, and Bahrain-based newcomer Sneha Ajith. Singer Anusithara’s younger sister, Anu Sonara also stars in the film, which features Lal as a parapsychologist.

“I have a very good understanding with Lal,” says Suresh. “We know each other for more than three decades. And we have many shared memories.”

The shooting, in places like Kuttikanam and Peermade, has been completed and the final mix is taking place.

During the shoot, Suresh felt the presence of his mother. He had planned a shoot on a hill at Peermade. But each time they went to do the scene, it was raining heavily. A crew member suggested that they could complete the rest of the shooting and try finishing that scene later. “So we did that,” says Suresh. “But I got a feeling that I could get a similar shot elsewhere. I believe it was my mother speaking to me.”

This intuition proved to be correct. When he returned to Thiruvananthapuram, he did the shoot on a nearby mountain. “The effect was the same,” he says. “There was a lot of mist. And it worked out fine.”

But he found it difficult to find a producer for the film. Right through his career, this has been the case. “That’s because I don’t work with superstars,” he says. But for Kshanam, Reji Thampi has agreed to co-produce with Suresh under the banner of Roshan Pictures. “I loved the script,” says Reji.

Suresh began his career by working with the late director Padmarajan. He was an associate director for 12 films. His debut film, Jaathakam (1989), has been one of his most popular films.

Asked the secret to making successful films, Suresh says, “A good script. Padmarajan always used to tell me that. And I believe Kunchacko Boban’s latest film, Anjaam Pathiraa is doing very well because of its excellent script. People come to theatres to see stories told well. All the youngsters should remember this.”

Kshanam is expected to hit the screens next month.

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