At a time when action films relied heavily on time-tested formulas, ‘Vyooham’, released in 1990, was distinctive in many ways. The technological brilliance was one and the film introduced Raghuvaran, an accredited baddie of the time, as the hero. Though the movie received average response at the box office, it brought a wind of change to the industry.
Two years later, the director of the movie, Sangeeth Sivan, again took the Malayali audience by surprise. His next outing ‘Yodha’, filmed at the unseen locales of Nepal also introduced the magical music of AR Rahman in Mollywood for the first time.
The maverick filmmaker, who is known for movies like ‘Gandharvam’, ‘Nirnayam’ and ‘Daddy’ in the first half of the 1990s, is back. But this time, in a new attire, as a producer of the film directed by his assistant. Ask him about his long hiatus from Mollywood, and he says, “True. It has been long since I associated with Mollywood. I kept away from the industry to unlearn the things I learnt here. Malayalam film industry has taught me the basics of cinema. I began from here and even now, when I think about a new movie, I think it as a Malayali director,” he says.
The director who hails from a family with a film background says, “Malayalam films have always amazed me, from the very beginning. What sets the industry apart from the rest is that, in spite of the limited resources, we have always made sensible movies, that are hi-tech in quality. While I made movies here, I tried to balance both quality and technology.”
After directing seven Malayalam films in a row he took a break and directed a Hindi movie ‘Zor’ starring Sunny Deol and Sushmita Sen in 1997. “That was a deliberate move. It was a time when cinema was going through a transition phase. Craving to learn more about the technological side of the industry, I left Kerala and associated myself with other industries. The hullabaloo of Hindi industry has been another phase of my life. It is still a part of me. While in Malayalam cinema, we bottle up our emotions and present them in a subtle way, Bollywood is more expressive. It was all new to me in the beginning. I have always felt that the reflection of life as it is, is more important in Mollywood. But Bollywood gives more priority to the colours of life,” he observes.
Sangeeth Sivan who seems to have kept a tab of all the movies being made in Malayalam says, “The type of movies churned out here some one-two years back were unbelievably low in quality. But now new talents and ideas are coming which is evident from the recently released movies like ‘Salt N Pepper’ and ‘Chappa Kurishu’. In fact it is the advancement the industry is showing in all areas that has instilled confidence in me to take a Malayalam movie after a long gap.”
About his future projects in Malayalam, Sangeeth Sivan says, “The movie, ‘Idiots’ that I am producing is a comedy. Though I thoroughly enjoy comedy and have taken such movies in Hindi, in Malayalam I look forward to do a more serious film. I have Mammootty in my mind, and if everything falls into place, I will make a Malayalam movie with him as the hero, though I cannot say when exactly.”
His latest project is ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana 2’, the sequel to 2011’s super hit comedy starring Deol family will begin by August this year.