The trailer of the movie 'Athiran' starring Fahadh Faasil, Prakash Raj and Sai Pallavi in the lead roles was released, without much hullabaloo, recently. It immediately grabbed the attention of the cinema enthusiasts and became a talking point on the social media as well. However, some were quick to draw similarities between the trailer of 'Athiran', filled with ample doses of intrigue and thrill, to Leonardo di Caprio's Hollywood movie 'Shutter Island' and the Academy award nominated 'Get Out'.
Debutant director Vivek opens up about his upcoming movie and clarifies the doubts of the movie enthusiasts.
'Athiran' is not only Vivek’s debut movie but also is his dream project. The young film maker hasn’t assisted any noted film makers in the industry or worked as an associate director. He worked for a while in a production and distribution company and that is his only experience with the movies.
“I have been passionate about cinema from my childhood itself. However, I had no clarity about how my movie would evolve. I wasn’t keen to try my hands in acting. I had always dreamt to become a director. I am close friends with actor Prathap Pothen and I had shared my cinema dreams with him. I enrolled for the bachelor of mass media course in Mumbai following his advice. I worked for three years in Mumbai. I was part of the production of many leading advertisements. I worked as a creative producer at MTV India and Walt Disney,” noted Vivek.
Vivek then took over a production and distribution startup company based in Chennai. Super hit Tamil film, ‘I’, was the first film that was distributed by the Global United Media. They also distributed both the movies in the blockbuster ‘Baahubali’ franchise in Kerala. He was the executive producer of the Malayalam movie 'Kammatipadam' and became friends with Rajiv Ravi, Dulquer Salaman and Geethu Mohandas. Meanwhile, he was introduced to actor Fahadh Faasil as well.
The newcomer's stint
“I haven’t worked as an associate or as an assistant director yet. Knowing that I am a newcomer, Fahadh Faasil and Sai Pallavi said yes to this movie as they trusted me. They treated me like one of their close friends,” said Vivek.
Fahadh, the Athiran
The director admits that 'Athiran' is an experimental movie which has a unique narrative pattern. He had initially planned to do a romantic comedy with Fahadh. However, he changed his mind when the story of 'Athiran' began to develop in his mind. Fahadh liked the treatment of the movie and came on board. Vivek then approached writer PF Mathews for the screenplay. Many of his friends who had dreamt of cinema, just like Vivek, too are part of 'Athiran'.
Prakash Raj, the wonder
“I had cast a senior actor in the Malayalam movie industry to play a significant role in the movie. He is someone whom I admire and respect a lot. However, he couldn’t join the cast as he had some issues with the dates. I was facing a crisis and Prakash Raj sir’s face came up in my mind. I collected his phone number and texted a message, despite not knowing him at all. I wasn’t expecting him to reply. However, he texted me back asking me to call him. When I called him, the first thing he asked me was why he should do this movie. I honestly replied that the role was meant for another actor and that I was approaching him as the former couldn’t make it. He understood the situation and agreed to essay the role. While filming, he told me, ‘This is the first time in my career that a director had called, offering me a role meant for someone else’,” explains Vivek.
Athiran is not Shutter Island
Vivek says that the audience had only noticed similarities with the Hollywood movies as soon as 'Athiran’s trailer got released. He added that they have failed to discuss about the Malayalam movies that have inspired him while conceiving 'Athiran'. He reveals that he was greatly influenced by movies like 'Ulladakkam', 'Shesham' and 'Devadoothan'. The film maker also admitted that Hollywood movies like 'Shutter Island', 'A Cure for Wellness' and 'Stonehearst Asylum' too had inspired him.
“However, Athiran is not Shutter Island. It is just that this movie belongs to that genre. The narrative pattern of the movie is entirely different and unique. Many things which are not shown in the trailer form the heart of the movie. It should be experienced by watching the movie,” concluded the director.