THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The two-year hiatus was the longest in the career of filmmaker Lal Jose.
However, it ends on May 15 as he begins his first movie with Mohanlal, who had predicted a great future for the ‘slender’ assistant of director Kamal after their first interaction 25 years ago.
It will be in Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram that Lal Jose’s next, a yet-to-be-titled fun musical drama in the backdrop of a seaside campus, will go on the floors.
Later, it will shift to Alappuzha. “Lalettan had mentioned about me to director Siby Malayil while they met on the sets of Vishnulokam. Then, even I was not sure of the course of my future. Later, I had tried twice for a project with him. But somehow it didn’t work,” he said.
But, why did he miss the two years?
There were a few projects during the last couple of years. However, it did not materialise.
“The first one was with Nivin Pauly in the lead and written by Bobby and Sanjay. Nivin, who green signalled the one-line, was not confident when he heard the script. We cannot move forward when the lead actor is not confident. Then came another which was to be scripted by Sreenivasan with Tovino in the lead. The story was by a new guy who assisted in a few new-generation films.
Sreeni was so impressed by the story and paid him from his pocket. He also wanted me to direct it. However, when we discussed the script with our assistants, they told about a Spanish film. When had to wind up the project as the story was a lift,” he said on the wasted projects.
What went wrong with the earlier Mohan Lal projects?
The first one was ‘Balaraman’. The idea by S Sureshbabu was later changed to Shikkar by M Padmakumar. Then came a project titled Cousins penned by Dr Iqbal Kuttippuram.
"It was supposed to be a project with Prithviraj in the lead. However, it faced many hindrances right from the beginning and eventually it had to be dropped. When Benny P Nayarambalam told me about a project, I asked him to find one which will suit Lalettan. Hence he told about a character which I found interesting. We made one line in 10 days and the project started.
When Antony Perumbavoor intervened
Lal Jose says: "Now this project happens due to initiative taken by Antony Perumbavoor, who is also the producer. He was adamant to make this happen due to the past experiences.”
“One of the frequent questions I faced over the years was on why I was not making a film with Lalettan. I was told that Lalettan also had to face the question on why he was not doing a film with me. In fact, Suresh Balaji, Lalettan’s brother-in-law whom I know from the days ofUlladakkam, had given me advance some two years ago. We had to drop that too as we could not arrive at a project. Now, Antony was adamant to make this happen, due to the past experiences. We started this in April. However, I never thought we could begin soon,” he said.
Challenges of a Lal-Lal project
Lal Jose says the biggest challenge will be to provide variety to the character.
“It has to be befitting to someone like Lalettan who has played almost all kinds of roles. The expectations are high when Lalettan does a film with me. Same with Benny and I. It will be a war against time, rain and sea among other factors. We hope to finish in 100 days before the Onam season," he adds.
Thus, the director will join together with Mohanlal on May 15 incidentally the date on his last film Nee-Na, was released, two years ago.