Until 101 Chodyangal won the National Award for Best First Film of a director, Sidhartha Siva’s facet was limited to that of a comic sidekick, who occasionally chipped in a few lines.
But, the award and movie doing well in festival circuits gave away a different picture, of a movie maker who is perfectly at ease with his craft. As he gears to release his latest Ain, a realistic take on the life of a Muslim household in North Kerala, Sidhartha Siva is in a secure place. He knows his audience, is aware of what he has to offer them and is preparing to widen his horizons.
Ain too may have shades similar to his previous works but Sidhartha refuses to tag it a ‘arthouse’. “There are something in life that we opt not to see. Certain scenes that we are better off not witnessing. Ain, which means eye in Arabic, is about such things. There is life, religion and how an individual adapts to society. In whole, my movie mirrors life as we see it,” says Sidhartha.
The main characters in the movie are essayed by Musthafa who plays Maanu, a Muslim youth who shrugs off responsibilities until certain incidents turns his life upside down. (Musthafa is an assistant director and has played Pokkan in Ranjith’s Paleri Manickyam).
Rachana Narayanankutty will play the female lead. The movie also stars Sudheesh, his father Sudhakaran Nair and many theatre artists. The movie will have a theatrical release in April, says Sidhartha at present is acting in Sreebala K Menon’s directorial debut.
“Though acting is not something now I really want to concentrate on, but, I am always open to working with friends,” says the actor-turned-director who is planning his next movie wherein Kunchako Boban will play the lead.
So, is that project a move to inch closer to the popular culture movies?
“Actually I don’t believe in the so-called tags. Every movie has its ingredients and way to tackle it. The treatment of Zahir may not be right for Ain. If the storyline demands a particular treatment, we have to go by that or else it will be an injustice to that project. I cannot give Ain a treatment like Bangalore Days,” says Sidhartha. And, he clarifies that he is well aware of those who will watch his movie. “I know my movies are not for someone like a layman, who at the end of hard day, is in no mood for the philosophies of life,” he adds.
As a director, does it make him unhappy or unsatisfied that the movies are not having a great run in theatres? “What gives a movie an initial pull in theatres are faces with poster value and not really its ingredients. But, a good movie will always run in theatres,” says Sidhartha.
He quickly adds that if the number of people who watch a movie determines its success, then his movies, including 101 Chodyangal, Zahir and Ain, has reached many.
“My movies were screened in various festivals, including Busan Film Festival. So, if numbers are anything to go by, then my movies have had a good impact. A lot of people have seen and appreciated them,” says Sidhartha.
Nithya Menon in Queen Remake?
It seems Nithya Menon, who has a handful of enviable projects in her kitty, is going places. As per latest buzz, the pretty actress will play the lead in ‘Queen’ remake. If the report is true, she will be stepping into the shoes of Kangana Ranaut to play the jilted bride who goes on a solo honeymoon. Nithya’s next Malayalam film to hit the screens is ‘100 Days of Love’ which has her opposite Dulquar Salman. She is also waiting for her big south release, the much-awaited Maniratnam film ‘OK Kanmani’.