Anil on Cloud Nine - The New Indian Express

Anil on Cloud Nine

Published: 17th April 2014 01:33 PM

Last Updated: 17th April 2014 01:33 PM

While transforming the uber cool Fahad Fazil into a nerdie techie’s skin with a psychological disorder, little did the debut director knew that one day the nation will acknowledge his hardwork. The afternoon of Wednesday was a pure bliss for Anil Radhakrishnan Menon, as his debut movie ‘North 24 Kaatham,’ bagged the national award for Best Malayalam movie for this year. Pouring in with congratulatory calls and messages from his friends and well-wishers for his avant garde outing, he answers each call politely. Ask him whether he expected the award, Anil says, “The award came as a total surprise for me. I never expected it. It was only in the morning few of my friends called and informed me about ‘North 24 Kaatham’ being nominated for the final rounds.” The director who is currently at his native place, the quaint Ottappalam heard the news from television.

Ask him about the reaction from his people, (soon after the announcement of the award) he smiles and says, “My sleepy town is yet to know the news.”

The film with the novel theme was well-accepted by both critics and film buffs. It narrated the story of three people having myriad characteristics stranded together on a hartal day. One being the geek Harikrishnan, a programmer working in Kochi, who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), with his quirky ways and mannerisms welcomes everyone’s hatred. On a hartal day, Hari who hates to travel is compelled to travel by train, tempos, bikes, and boats and on foot too. Fahad Fazil essayed the role with poise and brillaince. Hari who is enroute to Thiruvananthapuram is accompanied by co-travellers, teacher and communist Gopalettan (Nedumudi Venu) and a social worker Narayani (Swati Reddy).

Hari’s journey is altered with an emotional incident, which makes him to tread 380-odd kms across the state. The journey opens him into the unexplored expanses which he has never imagined in his wildest dreams. And the end of his soujourn makes him a transformed and much evolved man. The film along with examining a psychological problem in the protagonist, also sheds light on the sorry state of Kerala on a hartal day in a satirical note.

It was three years back when the director was struck with this story. He discussed the idea with his director friend Anwar Rasheed who inturn asked Anil to pen the script.

Ask him whether the story was inspired from personal experience, he says, “Though many medias presented the film as my own personal account, it is not true. But I have seen people with OCD and taking cue from that I sketched Harikrishnan. And from that character, I weaved out the situations.”

Sharing the toughest situations that he had to deal while shooting was the heavy downpour.

“North 24 Kaatham was shot in early June last year during the heaviest monsoon Kerala has seen. And shooting in between the rains was difficult,” he adds.

Currently Anil is busy with his upcoming venture ‘Sapthama Sree Thaskaraha’ starring Prithviraj in the lead.

The Sanskrit title means seven gentlemen thieves. “The film is on the pre-production stage and the shoot will begin by mid of May,” signs off Anil.

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