‘Solomante Theneechakal’ directed by veteran filmmaker Lal Jose is all set to hit the screens. PG Prageesh who penned the screenplay for ‘41’, also directed by Lal Jose, has written the screenplay of this film. He currently works as the head of Air India’s corporate communication department. Ever since the news about the movie was out, the audience has been curious about it's title. In a candid chat with Manorama Online, Prageesh opens up about the movie and his future plans.
“Like everyone else I too enjoy narrating tales. I have had the thread of this movie in my mind since some time. Many rounds of discussions were held to give equal prominence to all the characters. The drafts were rewritten multiple times before the filming began. I watched lots of world movies during the lockdown period. So, I could get great references whenever the script was being rewritten,” says Prageesh.
Police and court
Prageesh likes narrating stories that are closer to the lives. ‘Solomante Theneechakal’ is Suja and Glyna’s story. One of them is traffic police warden while the other one works in a police station. The film narrates the story of their friendship, love and the mystery behind it. “Every love affair has an element of mystery; and that is what gives it an enchanting charm. We never tell our close friends that we understand them deeply and know everything about them. However, in love relations, despite proclaiming that they love and know each other well, there is always an element of mystery. I have felt that lovers often say this without understanding each other. So, ‘Solomante Theneechakal’ is also about the mystery of love,” notes the writer.
Prageesh began his career as a crime journalist. During those days, he began his days with a phone call to the police station. He wanted to know whether there had been any updates about the cases. Prageesh says that he wouldn’t forget to ring the station one more time, in the evening, before he leaves the office. “Police and court had become daily affairs in my life. So, I cherished friendly relations with police officers. As part of my job, I had access to the crime scenes too. I was able utilize all those experiences while writing this movie. As a television journalist I really understood the incredible scope of visual media. I really enjoy developing story lines from news articles. The story of my first movie ‘41’ too was developed from a news article. That film was based on an incident that happened in Pullumedu,” recalls Prageesh.
The writer reveals that the makers wanted to give equal prominence to the five main characters. He says that these characters have ‘been’ with him ever since he thought about the plot. Interestingly, the lead actors in ‘Solomante Theneechakal’ had proved their mettle in the talent reality show ‘Nayika Nayakan’ that was aired on Mazhavil Manorama. Newcomers Darshana, Vincy, Shambu and Adis essay pivotal roles in this film. As Prageesh had clear idea about their incredible acting skills, he had written the screenplay to suit them well. He wanted to create opportunities where the young actors could unravel their true potential.
“I remember looking at the posters of ‘Oru Maravathoor Kanavu’ while I was studying in school. I consider myself lucky that I am able to do a movie with a director who I had admired as a teenager. I feel extremely happy now that I am able to be a part of his ideas.
There are limitations when people like me who are already employed enter the cinema industry. The busy work schedules of the corporate world often prevent us from investing our time for working on the script. Lal Jose sir has understood all these difficulties and had stood with me. Moreover, he has been an amazing teacher as well. He held me close whenever he thought I would fall. He had been with me at all stages of screenplay writing. He is not someone who would brush us away by asking us to come later with a script. He finds time to lead us and correct our mistakes. Sometimes, he would even find new ideas from the blunders that we make. I understand that he is the one who had introduced most number of debut screenwriters in Malayalam cinema. He introduced new writers in his movies like ‘Classmates’ and ‘Neena’. I am extremely happy to say that I am the script writer of his 25th and 27th movie. I must say that I have been really fortunate,” says Prageesh.
In the modern age, the teasers and trailers play a prominent role in giving a wider reach for the movies. Prageesh says that ‘Solomante Theneechakal’ which is bankrolled by LJ Films is not a big budget movie. “Lal Jose sir wanted to bring a uniqueness to the teasers and trailer of the film. He is someone who has been in the industry for the last twenty two years. His movies have offered unique cinematic experience for the audience. He has always tried making movies that are unique in its theme and making style. He doesn’t hesitate to try new actors and technicians like cinematographers. That is why we tried something unique like the ‘director’s trailer’.
I think it must be the first time in Malayalam cinema that a director himself narrates the plot in a trailer. We wish to give clarity to the audience before attracting them to the theatres. We prepared the director’s trailer as an attempt to encourage the audience to watch the movie without any preconceived notions. Besides, this is a great way for the director to communicate his ideas with the audience. The director introduced the characters and the theme so that audience could relate to them in a better way. I understand it as a great experiment,” notes Prageesh.
A journalistic touch
Prageesh says that the first person narrative method is commonly followed by television journalists. In the television industry, it is called a ‘Piece to Camera’. A ‘piece to camera’ situation happens when a television reporter narrates an incident that he had witnessed, directly to the audience. That piece of information would have credibility. Prageesh notes that as one of the reasons why TV reporters often present reports in a narrative style, from the place where the incident had happened. The writer didn’t hesitate to utilise the incredible scope of this ‘reporting’ style in his movie too.
In the 1960’s renowned filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock has tried this method in his films. Prageesh says that the makers of ‘Solomante Theneechakal’ had followed the same promotional technique that Hitchcock had tried in his much-celebrated movie ‘Psycho’. At the end of the trailer, when Lal Jose turns away from the camera, the audience could notice a quote by Hitchcock. The makers of this film have included it as note of gratitude to the great filmmaker. Moreover, it introduces an element of mystery for the viewers who watches the trailer. Prageesh is thrilled that many viewers could unravel this mystery and have been discussing about it on various social media platforms.