A start so familiar….!

Shooting of Spanish Masala  started on First of August, in Madrid’s Jardines- de Sabatini. Switch on was done at the Roof top of the hotel. In Keralam, we usually light the traditional lamp, but as we were in Spain, there was a slight change from routine. Dileep lighted a candle and producer Noushad switched on the camera. Script writer Benny, Actors Biju Menon , Nelson and others along with Camera man Loganathan and the whole crew were present. Spanish – Malayalam translator Haritha and the rest of production personnel were there too.

We started with a song sequence of Dileep and Daniela. Though the summer is here in full strength, I was the least amused to see it drizzling as we started. All my friends in the crew had a smile.  From nowhere the clouds gathered and lo! It’s commonplace for all my films to get a rain or drizzle in the beginning as if Mother Nature is showering us with blessings!

From Location

 

On location of Spanish Masala

Actors Biju Menon, Dileep and script writer Benny P.Nayarambalam at the location in Madrid, of Spanish Masala

Friends,

I know you understand how it is while shooting. We have started full fledged shooting from last week, it’s about ten days now…

Let me tell you it’s REAL hectic…!

I thank the whole crew for keeping up with the spirit of hard work!

I would keep jotting in bits and pieces so that our link stays live.

In Madrid, we have been staying at Jardines de sabatini suites.

As I told you before,  people from different cultures are meeting to work together!

The results are gorgeous  off  screen,  I pray the same repeats on screen!!!

Love

LJ

Thinking of Spain

Spanish Masala - Malayalam Film: Pooja Ceremony

After Pooja with Ranjan Abraham, Vidya Sagar, Nazim and R. Venugopal

I was in Madrid last month, on location hunt. Think of Spain, and off you swing to bull fights, football and the Flamenco dance. Theme of my new film, Spanish Masala has direct link to the lives of the people of Spain.

I think twice, before claiming this would be a visual treat; let me confess, I am not sure. But I am completely at ease about one thing- that is the feeling about emotions. People all over the world, be it in Spain, Kerala or elsewhere possess the same emotions at heart. Their way, style and mode of expression may differ. So you will see the emotions at work between two cultures, languages and lifestyles.

Whenever script writer Benny, actor Dileep, music director Vidya Sagar and me speak to each other after announcing Spanish Masala we are tense. I got this vibration from them that the expectation of our well wishers from this film is very, very high!! We feel it has only one reason, and that is our last collaborative effort – `Chandupottu’… In fact now I feel it has started making me even nervous! Dear friends… let me tell you, Spanish Masala needs to be a different film with all innate flavors to it.. We just hope we deliver the original spirit of the story of two human beings who chance upon each other away from this green God’s own land of ours!

I want to tell you about the Pooja of Spanish Masala. We did a quiet ceremony at Varsha Vallagi studio in Chennai on 13th July. It was attended by Vidya Sagar, Executive Producer Nazim, Editor Ranjan Abraham and very few well wishers. All my films except Classmates and Neelathamara had such solemn Pooja moments. Whenever we had Vidyaji in the team the Pooja was performed at Varsha Vallagi. The song composition is done. Now orchestration is in full swing. We hope all would appreciate the Music. As I told you R.Venugopal is the song writer, being with the advertisement world he also has penned for Club FM.

The funny, unusual thing this time was that I forgot to invite the actor who plays the protagonist in the film, to the event. Yes, forgot to tell Dileep about the occasion! Not just him but all actors including Kunchacko Bobban and Biju Menon….. Now you can imagine how they must have felt…After the ceremony I get a call from Dileep with genuine emotions for not telling the news. As you would be aware personally and professionally all of us are closely linked. Such omissions would definitely hurt. I told them that my home front had been in a bit of commotion with one of my family members getting admitted in a hospital during these days. And I was attending the event straight from the hospital. After Pooja I flew back to the same hospital. Dileep has been shooting in Ootty for his film `Mr.Marumakan’. Once we chatted, he was fine and we pacified each other. I wish his film the very best of receptions and Spanish Masala the same!

Among all my films only Neelathamara had a gala event for Pooja. Obviously the film demanded a different placement. Rest all were less talked about affairs. Now that the blessings are asked for, and offering made to the almighty please keep Spanish Masala in your prayers too!

Watch out for…

Dear Friends

I know it’s a huge gap! And loads of news to tell you! `Spanish Masala’ is my new film. The cast from Malayalam includes Dileep, Kunchacko Bobban, Biju Menon, Kala Ranjini, Vinaya Prasad, Nelson and Gopalan. Remaining set of actors will be from Europe. Benny P.Nayarambalam writes the screenplay, Loganathan wields the camera, Gokuldas does art direction, Ranjan Abraham handles editing and make up to be done by Sreejith Guruvayur. Costume designers are Arun Manohar and Aravind.R. The film is being produced by Naushad with Big screen as the banner. Nazim and Sajith are line producers. Vinod Shornur will be the production controller.

As the name suggests the story has Spain in the backdrop. Shooting will commence at Madrid and nearby locations. Spanish Masala is a love story with a humorous tint. I was flying along with the scripting, song composition and location hunt that I could not fetch you the nuances of getting them together! As you know I am still on Cinema Karyangal in Amrita TV as well. But let me assure you now not to trample with this thread that ties both of us together and keep giving you the news as warm as suggested by the name of the film!

We have a new song writer Venugopal for whom Vidyasagar sets the music. Venugopal so far has written four songs for us and has an advertisement industry background.

We did reckee trips to Spain, Austria and Check republic of which I will be detailing in the next post. Till then you take care,
Love
LJ

Listening to stories…

I, as a film director, am fortunate to receive the affection of my viewers. My movies have granted me ample opportunity of being loved by film enthusiasts. To some extent, TV channels have helped audiences form an opinion about me. I do not know whether this love will enhance or perish in case if a viewer establishes  direct personal relationship with me!

Anyway, nowadays I am making some ‘enemies’! They are the people who approach me saying they have a story ready for a good film! Earlier, I used to spare time for each of them. Almost every member of this group will begin their conversation by pitying the senselessness of recent releases. They will express their ‘intense remorse’ over decay of screen play writing. Then they will claim that they have 5 or 6 stories as a panacea for all these diseases that affect Malayalam film industry. The interaction closes with the visitor presenting a story based on the theme of a hit film itself, or its true copy!

Some of them come with their strong protest against prevailing system in film industry and the ‘cruelty’ of directors who do not give opportunity to new talents. Then, they will tell shockingly strange stories. One need not be a director to grasp the awkwardness of these stories. A lot of such people have respected jobs in the society. I have been a patient listener for a long time, and tried convincing the inappropriateness of their story, without hurting them.

Once, when preliminary news about Chanthupottu was out, I received a letter. It was from a person whose story I had listened earlier.

The letter said-“ Dear Lal Jose, I am very glad to know that you are making a film based on my story. However, I have not seen my name anywhere in the news item. I will approach the court unless you give me due credit for being writer of the story and my remuneration. N.B: As my wife is a leading advocate in Kannur court, be informed that I don’t have to spend any extra amount for filing and executing legal procedures.”

An employee at the secretariat- this friend had attached a photostat copy of his story along with the letter- Story of a man who undergoes sex change through hormone alteration. At the first glance itself I could understand that his story did not possess even a distant connection to the story of my film. I found his phone number in the letter. I asked on what basis he believed that the story belonged to him. Also how he could decide on this with some bits of storyline from film magazines. But this person was adamant. He told two years ago the story was published in a local magazine in Kannur. I gave him the phone number of Chanthupottu’s writer BennyP.Nayarambalam. Anyway it was Benny who wrote the story!

After two days, the same person called me with a strange request “Sir, please tell Benny not to register a case against me!” Of course then the matter was beyond my understanding. I called Benny. I was greeted with a loud laughter on the other side. Chanthupottu, the heartrending story of Radhakrishnan, the dancer boy, was developed from Benny’s own theatre production for Jubilee theatres presented on stage before 20 years. As a tit for tat Benny told him that he will register a case against him for stealing that story and publishing it in a magazine before 2 years. He warned him that this legal battle could well be the cause of loosing his government job!

Name of the protagonist in our friend’s story also was Radhakrishnan. This very similarity acted as the main factor that moved him to the brink of registering a case.
After Classmates was released, a person approached the court accusing the story was stolen from two of his novels. To name a few similarities- all these stories were set against the backdrop of college life and while the name of protagonist in classmates is Sukumaran, the novel had a protagonist named Sudhakaran. Though the case was rejected by the court after two years, the mental pressure and dejection that I experienced during this period was too heavy. I realized that these problems were actually created by my own habit of listening to unfamiliar people. I no more entertain stories by strangers. Nowadays, when I get calls that people have marvelous stories,  a few desperately end conversation by calling me names.

Well, I realize that knowingly I am creating a group people who have ill-feelings towards me. But, honestly, I don’t know what to do, to be in their good books!