The lockdown may have ground our lives to a halt, but ironically, it has accelerated Roshan Mathew’s career. If the web films Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai and Kappela introduced a pan-India audience to his talent, the recent release C U Soon marked his union with Fahadh Faasil, arguably one of the most experimental artistes of our times. Over a week after the Amazon Prime Video movie opened to positive reviews, Mathew admits he had his share of apprehension about executing India’s first computer screen film. “I loved the script but had no idea how we were going to pull this off during the lockdown. A week after they [Faasil and director Mahesh Narayanan] approached me, we sat down to discuss the finer details,” recounts the actor.
Surprising as it sounds, Mathew says the biggest hurdle stemmed from his discomfort with video calls. “I am uncomfortable with video calls or even a regular phone call. So, it is scary when you are suddenly thrust in a situation where you have to do an entire film on video calls. I am scared when I have to act without a co-actor; I depend a lot on him/her.”
Shooting amid the prevalent restrictions was an uphill task — he describes the experience of exploring the novel treatment as “a school project that we all were working on together”. “While there were curfews, we managed to move around to get the outdoor shots. For the call scenes, we moved into four different apartments in the same building and the movie was shot within those spaces,” explains the actor.
Even as he wins praise for the recent Malayalam outing, Mathew considers Choked as the turning point for him — the Anurag Kashyap-directed film, after all, marked his foray into Bollywood. “After the film, there has been attention from that side. People reached out to me with comments, appreciation, which didn’t happen earlier,” he says.
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Late director Sachy’s Prithviraj movie to go on floors?
Late director Sachy and Prithviraj were to team again for a movie titled Vilayath Buddha. With the unexpected demise of the acclaimed director, the movie was eventually dropped halfway. Now, the latest is that director Sachy’s longtime associate Jayam Nambiar is taking over the project.
In a recent interview given to a leading daily, director Jayan said that it was Prithviraj, who suggested him to take over the project. Jointly scripted by GR Indugopan and Rajesh, the movie is expected to be bankrolled by Prithviraj’s home banner, Prithviraj Productions.
The film is based on GR Indugopan’s novel ‘Vilayath Buddha’, that revolves around Bhaskaran master and smuggler student named Double Mohanan. Going by the novel, the movie is about a master who grows a sandalwood tree in his yard while his student challenges his teacher that he will cut down the tree.
Reportedly, Prithviraj Sukumaran is playing the role of a smuggler in the movie. Details regarding the rest of the cast is expected to be revealed soon and is expected to start rolling only after the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Prithviraj and Jayan Nambiar are working on another project which is a mythological film that will be shot completely in virtual production.
‘Nishabdham’ has got importance for all characters: Anushka Shetty
Anushka Shetty, who awaits the OTT release of ‘Nishabdham’ on October 2, has described the film as an interesting thriller wherein she plays a challenging role. In this interview, catch her talk about how the project fell in her lap, working with Madhavan, getting trained in sign language, and more.
After ‘Bhaagamathie’, there has been much gap in your career. Your fans have been eagerly waiting for your next. Why did the gap happen? Was it planned? How did the journey with ‘Nishabdham’ start?
After ‘Bhaagamathie’, I went on a sabbatical deliberately. Sometime in 2018, Kona Venkat garu and Hemanth Madhukar narrated the story of ‘Nishabdham’ to me and I was bowled over by the script. My character is atypical and I strongly felt that I should go for it. Not only did the story came searching for me, but also I loved it.
You apparently learned the international sign language for playing the role of a mute artiste in the movie. What was the homework like?
Sakshi is both deaf and dumb in the movie. This aspect of the character made me take it up as a challenge. For a couple of months, I got trained in sign language. After reaching America to shoot for the film, I realized that the international sign language is different. I once again got trained in it there from a 14-year-old girl. It was a great learning experience.
The film was supposed to release in theatres on April 2. As destiny would have it, the pandemic has played the demon. And, as a result, ‘Nishabdham’ has become the first direct-to-OTT release of your career. How do you see it?
Although theatre and OTT are contrasting experiences, it is important for us to see OTT in a positive way. Because of the unique situation we are in, technology-driven options have to be explored to reach out to the audience. We have to go for these changes. Let’s welcome the new normal. Although it feels a bit strange that ‘Nishabdham’ is unexpectedly coming out on OTT, I hope the audience are going to love this change.
This is your first film with Madhavan in 14 years. What was the experience of working with him?
I had worked with Madhavan for the first time in the initial days of my career on a Tamil film, in 2006. It was a wonderful experience working with him after all the years. It helped that both of us have played challenging roles in ‘Nishabdham’. Besides our roles, every character in the thriller has got a place in the story. This is not a story that takes place only between two individuals. The screenplay lends importance to a number of other characters. It’s a thrilling ride, I must say.
Technical departments, especially background music, play a key role in thrillers. Since you have watched the final copy, what is your take on the BGM?
OTT can’t be a match to the sound system of the theatre. The quality of sound is different on streaming sites. But if you go for headphones and a home theatre experience, the user experience improves vastly. As for ‘Nishabdham’, both music (by Gopi Sunder) and background music (by Girrish Gopalakrishnan) are big assets.
Tell us about the director-producer duo.
Hemanth Madhukar comes with a lot of clarity of vision. He knows what he wants from his actors. It’s because of him that the output is so terrific. Kona Film Corporation and People Media Factory have set high standards for themselves. For an experimental film like this, they have spent without compromising anywhere. They are passionate and have a lot of daring.
Is this the final list of contestants of Bigg Boss 4?
The fourth season of the most popular reality game show Bigg Boss hosted by Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan is all set to begin on October 4 on Vijay TV, and fans of the show are eagerly waiting to watch the show.
There have been numerous speculations on the list of participants of this entertaining show, and in the recent times several stars have been issuing denials on the rumours on their participation as well.
Now, days before the start of the show, here’s a list of the most probable contestants of Bigg Boss 4:
Super Singer fame Aajeedh,
Folk singer Vel Murugan,
Actor-producer Jithan Ramesh,
Veteran actress Rekha,
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