Malayalis would be familiar with the tagline ‘Oru Dosa Undakiya Kadha’ and the movie this tagline belongs to – Salt N’ Pepper. A romantic comedy movie released in 2011, this one had all the essential components good cinema requires to keep the audience glued to their seats. The movie was also a turning point in the lives of many people. Aashiq Abu gained wide acclam in the industry and cemented his position as a versatile and talented director. The movie also marked the beginning of a new banner in Malayalam film industry ‘Lucsam Creations’.
An unstoppable urge to be a part of cinema landed Sadanandan Rangorath, a businessman from Mumbai, in Kochi where he first heard a story and was not convinced by it. San, as addressed by his friends, even though was a new entrant to the industry was very particular that he would not do a movie that is copied. And so he waited for a good script to come and his patience was rewarded when his first venture became a blockbuster.
Sadanandan later produced Nidra, a highly critically acclaimed movie directed by Sidharth Bharathan.
However, his urge to get associated with cinema did not end there. While he was on a break from movies due to a personal crisis, Sadanandan was still working on a script that would be his directorial venture. It was during this time he came across a book ‘GOD’ written by Praveen P. Gopinath and decided to make it into a movie as he knew it would be a story that people would like to watch.
In a conversation with The Kochi Post, he shares more details about the movie and how he ended up writing a script and then working on another. The movie is named Kautilyan and the poster has been launched on Thursday. The movie, according to the director, has a humour element to it and is ready to hit the screens in the upcoming months.
How did you come into movies?
I had a keen interest towards movies right from childhood and was a big fan of Bharathan and Padmarajan movies. But as every kid was forced to study I was also supposed to do the same. I had to take the responsibility of my family as well. I completed my engineering and went on to work for a couple of multinational companies like Wipro. After working for some years I started a business, which by God’s grace is doing pretty well and this is when I realised I am in a position to work for my passion. I had to direct a movie but literally knew nothing about it. My friends suggested that I start as an assistant with any director in the industry. However, I could not do that because I had to look after my business as well. And so according to a friend’s suggestion, I decided to produce a movie. Even though it was a bit difficult for things to fall in place, later it all worked out with Salt N’ Pepper.
Your urge to learn about movies made you a producer. Were you successful in doing what you wanted?
To an extent yes, because I literally knew nothing about cinema when I decided to be a part of it. But slowly I started understanding what it is. I do not claim that I am a good at making cinema because my maiden project as a director is yet to come and the audience is responsible to judge me. However, I could build confidence in myself through the movies I have been a part of. As producers we listen to a story and imagine that it would come out well and that people would love watching it. We also commit to spending crores of rupees in order to complete the film. If we can invest this much and show confidence in a person we don’t know or on a subject that may or may not work, why can’t we have that confidence in ourselves. This is the question I asked myself and this is what gave me the fuel to experiment with my dreams.
How long have you been working on a script?
I had met with an accident and was under treatment for the last one-and-a-half years in Palakkad. I utilised this time to write a script. I had ample time and could write what I wanted. Thus, I am ready with a script, which I thought would be my debut film as a director. However, it was then that I came across GOD and decided to work on it.
How did GOD happen?
I was working on my script when I came across a post by Praveen. I was really excited by the post and commented on the same. Later, I got an opportunity to talk to him regarding it and it was during this conversation that he told me about GOD. He also sent me a copy of it on my request. I am a voracious reader and it didn’t take me a lot of time to complete the book. Once I was done reading the book, I got this instant feeling that this is a story people would like watching on the screen. I shared this with Praveen and he was fine with it. I then started rewriting the story. Even though I insisted that he should work on the script, he was of the opinion that I would do it better. And so I wrote the script and Praveen worked with the dialogues. Praveen has helped me with this in every step and his views are very valuable as he is the author of the book.
Who is producing the movie?
Centre Focus is the company that is producing the movie. They have been producing movies in Bollywood, but this will be their first movie in the Malayalam film industry. I am also in talks with actors and have only one actor in my mind to conceive the lead role. I hope things work out properly.
What is plot of the story?
The tagline of the story is – ‘Making money is an art, I am an artist’. This somewhat describes it and those who have read the book will know what this is it about. Let the others find out in the cinema halls.
Have you improvised the story?
Yes, there are changes in the story because it is difficult to make a two-and-a-half hour movie out of a 300-page book. The book describes every aspect of the story in detail. However, in a movie we are supposed to provide the entire story in limited time and that too without losing any of the content. This is really a challenging task to accomplish.
Being a debutant was it difficult to turn a book into a movie?
Every aspect of cinema is challenging and we have to overcome these challenges in order to make a good movie. Ace directors have experimented with more vast topics in the past and have made successful movies out of it. I cannot compare myself with them in any manner but I genuinely wanted to make this story into a movie and that is what I have tried.
Can you tell us something about the script you have already completed?
It is a thriller and a movie with a socially relevant subject. I have completed 99 per cent of the work and will start working on it as soon as I am done with this. I am in talks with various artists for the movie and am planning to produce it myself. It would definitely be a big budget movie.
Salt N’ Pepper was a trend setter when talking about movies with a different approach? Movies of this kind have been put under a title of new generation cinema? Do you think it is logical?
I don’t think movies can be classified according to any generation because when a director conceives a subject and decides to make it into a film, that is a new subject. It has nothing to do with generations because the fate of a movie is decided by how people accept it. Even today, movies in various industries are being made by taking inspiration from the Malayalam films made in the 70s and 80s. These are being chosen because they have that content in them which can be appealing in this day and age as well. So the directors during that era thought 15 or 20 years ahead while making a movie. In that case how can we claim we are new generation and that the movies now released are new generation movies?
You have come up with a project after a gap of three years. What is the reason for that?
Everything has its pros and cons and so does the film industry. At a point of time I had also thought that I would not come back to this industry but as I said my love towards good movies brought me back. The tantrums and egos of people in this industry are tough to handle. But it is fine if you consider everything as a part of the game.