Jenith Kachappilly: There is a purpose behind every detail in Mariyam Vannu Vilakkoothi
Jenith Kachappilly takes us through the process of making his unique stoner comedy
For once, it’s a relief to see a filmmaker not resorting to “family entertainer” to describe his film. Jenith Kachappilly's Mariyam Vannu Vilakkoothi is a stoner comedy. Jenith describes his maiden directorial feature as a “poor man’s version of Priyadarshan’s Boeing Boeing” or a “lighter version of a Lijo Jose Pellissery movie experience”.
However, Jenith maintains it’s not a film that advocates the use of psychotropic substances. “It has a fun plot that can be enjoyed by all kinds of audiences. We are not exactly encouraging anything, but at the same time it’s not intended as a message film either,” he says, adding that the film has its own little politics. “The film was originally known by a different title, but we later changed it to the present one because I felt, as a filmmaker, that it’s more creative given its multiple meanings. You’ll get its significance once you see the film.”
Mariyam Vannu Vilakkoothi marks the reunion of Premam actors Siju Wilson, Krishna Shankar, Shabareesh Varma, and Althaf Salim. Basil Joseph also makes an appearance.
Despite being a small project set in a small space, Jenith wanted to do something special with it. So he came up with ideas to make it different from the usual fare by designing it in a way that would appeal to the senses. “We came up with a specific colour tone and paid a lot of attention to the production design, to create an aesthetic that complements the film’s overall mood,” he says.
Manu Jagadh, who has worked on Baahubali: The Beginning, is the film’s production designer and Sinoj P. Ayyappan, the director of photography.
“We wanted to create an immersive experience. I wanted the frames to be aesthetically pleasing,” continues Jenith. “Since it’s a small film, we can only do so much. But I wanted to put some serious effort into the presentation, making sure that there is a purpose behind each and every detail. Be it the thanks card, title, or posters, nothing was done just for the sake of it. My team and I went and picked each and every material ourselves, including the costumes. Normally people don’t take this much effort for smaller films, but we wanted to do that.”
Jenith also incorporated a quirky animation sequence into the narrative that was initially planned to be longer than its current length. “We created these animated birds whose appearances resemble that of the main characters. It was a challenge to design it. It was more difficult to edit this sequence than the rest of the script. Whatever is happening in this segment is basically a creative representation of what happens to the characters,” explains the director, who cut his teeth in radio for six years before venturing into filmmaking.
Mariyam Vannu Vilakkoothi, produced by Rajesh Augustine, comes out in theatres this Friday.