Director Jayaraj has teamed up with Renji Panicker for the second time after their National award-winning collaboration, Bhayanakam, last year. Titled Roudram 2018, the film is set against the backdrop of the recent floods and is most likely to hit theatres in March. An official date is yet to be fixed.
The film marks Jayaraj’s seventh film in the navarasa series. Jayaraj had initially planned to do a film on the Nipah outbreak under the same title but had to change the focus of his script to the floods after Aashiq Abu announced Virus, his film based on the Nipah outbreak. “Since the floods happened right after the outbreak, I thought of depicting its roudra (anger) rasa instead,” says Jayaraj.
Renji’s performance has been submitted for consideration in the upcoming State awards. Renji and KPAC Leela play the two main characters — a couple in their 70s. Binu Pappan, son of Kuthiravattam Pappu, plays a taxi driver and Jayaraj’s wife Sabitha plays the couple’s maid. “It’s through these few characters that I wanted to show the gravity of the situation. A lot of senior citizens were trapped in areas like Chenganoor during the floods. The film is about the impact of the floods in this particular couple’s life.”
On casting KPAC Leela, Jayaraj says, “It’s a pity that Leela disappeared from the limelight despite being a terrific actress. If you look back, you’ll see that she was part of two acclaimed plays staged by KPAC — Thulabharam and Ashwamedham — and it was after seeing her performance in Thulabharam that Sharadha expressed her wish to act in its cinematic adaptation, which won Sharadha a National Award. I met Leela unexpectedly during the ‘Lalitham 50’ program in which KPAC Lalitha was honoured. Now after more than four decades, Leela is once again coming back to the big screen.”
Known for being one of the fastest filmmakers in Malayalam cinema, Jayaraj shot the film in less than a month at Kottayam. “I like to shoot fast. I shot Bhayanakam and Ottal in the same way too. There was a lot of homework prior to that. Recreating the flood situation in a particular area is a complex and arduous process. We had to construct a special set. I’ll be revealing the details about the shoot soon.”