Decoding a scene | 'Poomuthole' song is critical to 'Joseph'

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Director M Padmakumar's movie 'Joseph' is running successfully in the theatres. Starring Joju George, Dileesh Pothen and others, the movie is a medical crime thriller that traverses through the life and emotional turmoil of a retired police officer named Joseph. Though the movie was criticised by a few medical professionals for its controversial climax, its realistic build, casting and excellent making have been widely applauded by movie-lovers.

It was in this context that Onmanorama caught up with Padmakumar to ask him about the most challenging scene in this movie. Without sparing a second thought, the young filmmaker replied that it was a song sequence. The song 'Poomuthole...,' the director said, was not envisaged so in the beginning. A sequence of normally shot visuals was later translated to a song sequence with the help of the chief musician and editors.

Joseph movie

"The script demanded only one song, a crucial one, that comes in the second half of the movie. It shows how the protagonist's life changes after an unexpected encounter. It was during the discussions with scriptwriter Shahi Kabir and actor-producer Joju George that I decided to include the other songs," Padmakumar told Onmanorama.

The song 'Poomuthole...' shows the intimacy Joseph had with his late wife. It captures some precious moments in the couple's life like the birth of their first child, the couple's love and care for each other and the gradual growth of their daughter.

Padmakumar noted that there wasn't enough time to explain Joseph's past in this movie, as he is already shown as a divorcee when the movie begins. At the same time, the director couldn't afford to miss those sequences as the course of storyline is completely dependent upon the strong bond Joseph had with his late wife.

"It is the strong emotions Joseph had for his deceased wife that spur him to unfurl a significant murder case later in the course of the movie. Thus, we decided to shoot an exclusive sequence about the birth of couple's first child and how the couple cared for each other during that time," he recalled.

From the scene that shows a disturbed Joseph who waits outside the intensive care unit of a hospital, where his wife counts her final moments, the movie cuts to a past sequence where Joseph waits outside a labour room. The birth scenes became one of the most-appreciated sequences in the movie.

"We needed a just-born baby to shoot the scene. As it is difficult to arrange a just-born baby, we presented a two-week-old baby as a new-born in the scene. It was a family who lived near the hospital, where we shot the scene, which offered their new-born for the shoot," the director revealed.

It was after the crew shot all the scenes and edited that they decided to give a song as their background. Padmakumar thought a background song suits the mood better than mere background score.

"I called our music director Ranjan and demanded a song. 'I want a song as soon as possible', I told Ranjan. Ranjan called back after a few minutes and made us listen to a beautiful tune. We fixed the musical track on the spot," Padmakumar recalled his instantaneous decision that changed the outlook of the movie.

There is a wide difference between the way a normal sequence is shot and the way song sequences are captured. We would have an idea about the background score and dialogues when we shoot a normal sequence, the director said. All such equations get spoiled when we suddenly translate a normal sequence into a song, he added.

"Especially, the music tracks of the sequence and the song are entirely different from each other. I had said before, 'Poomuthole...' is not exactly a song. It is a background song. Fortunately, the sequence corresponded very well with the background song," he said.

No one who watches the movie would ever be able to distinguish that the sequence is a normal one which was blended with the song later. Padmakumar wondered how the editors managed to match the visuals so well with the music track. The depth of love between protagonist Joseph and his wife and the ingenuity of their performance made it possible, the filmmaker remarked.

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