For me there is no better actor than superstar Mohanlal who is reprising the character of the legendary Venetian adventurer and author, 'Casanova'. It is the tagline attached to the historical womaniser that made Mohanlal do the movie: ‘The man who loves women and a man who is loved by all women.’
Is there any other actor who can pull off such a stylised Casanova act? I doubt it. Having previously directed the superstar in two movies—'Udayananu Tharam', which was later remade in Hindi and Tamil without much success, and 'Ividum Swagamanu'—there is a certain understanding between the two of us. In Casanova, Mohanlal will be playing a flower dealer, who believes in the power of love. He travels to different countries, romances different women, and he loves them as much as they fall for him. In fact, Mohanlal’s on-screen flamboyant image goes superbly with this character.
But the fact remains that though it is one of my costliest movies till date—made on a budget of Rs 12 crore—Casanova took a long time to make. Shot mostly in Dubai and Bangkok, the film also marks the entry of a new producer, Dr CJ Roy of the Confident Group in Malayalam cinema.
With this film, I am also introducing one of the best producers I have ever worked with. It is thanks to his cooperation and Mohanlal’s confidence in me that I was able to pull off this extravaganza. There have been many instances when Mohanlal had to stay put in his hotel room for days with no shooting scheduled, but he never complained. He also played a crucial role in helping me to get permission to shoot in many places in Dubai.
The idea of the film was based on a one-liner by scriptwriters Bobby and Sanjay, who had earlier written for my hit, Notebook. However, the movie is not based on the Venetian adventurer. It is a sleek romantic thriller, with stylishly shot action sequences. Bollywood stunt master Allan Amin is doing the stunts and has made Mohanlal do some mind-blowing stuff. Mohanlal took driving lessons and cleared the Dubai driving test, besides attempting bike stunts and helicopter scenes. It is the first time that we have chosen the Emirates Palace and Burj Khalifa as locations.
Though I have hardly enjoyed the process of film-making, I am confident about the outcome. I can claim without exaggeration that this will be one of the best characters of Mohanlal. There is a long list of heroines to keep him company: Shriya Saran, Roma, Lakshmi Rai and a special appearance by Sameera Reddy. The cast also includes Jagathy Sreekumar, Laloo Alex, Shankar, Riyaz Khan and débutantes Vikram, Abhishek, Shamsi and Arjun.
(Roshan Andrews is a noted Malayalam film director)