KOCHI: Inheriting a career is one thing, and inheriting the passion for a career is another. The Sivan family is known more for the latter.
Sivasankaran Nair, popularly known as Sivan, the first government press photographer of Travancore and Thiru-Kochi, was an award-winning lensman and an acclaimed filmmaker whose sons Sangeeth, Santosh, and Sanjeev inherited the same passion as their father to make a bold mark in films.
The family’s passion for films doesn’t seem to stop there. The next-in-line to take to films, with a passion burning enough to be noticed from age six, is Sanjeev’s 12-year-old son Sidhanshu who starts his career as an actor with Ozhuki Ozhuki Ozhuki.
The film by Sanjeev Sivan has a grim plot where Sidhanshu dons the role of a boy named Paakaran who is a daily wage worker in a fishing cooperative in the backwaters of Kuttanad. His connection with the flowing water and wish to follow his deceased father’s footsteps as a boatman shape the narrative. The story takes an unexpected turn when Paakaran discovers a floating body in the water.
The 90-minute movie was released last Friday in theatres, and is currently being sent to festivals across the world. It has already been selected at the Moscow International Children Film Festival.
The film is based on the short story ‘Who’ by the late Malayalam lyricist and poet Beeyar Prasad, also known as B Rajendraprasad. “I was attracted to this story for two reasons. One is that it talks about the global issue of unidentified bodies floating in waters. Secondly, this complex story is told from a child’s point of view. It was a challenging character for Sidhanshu. But he underwent an intensive training workshop,” says Sanjeev.
The highlight of the movie is also its line-up including Resul Pookutty who is managing sound, Manoj Pillai the camera, Sreekar Prasad handling the editing, and Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen making the music.
The cast includes familiar faces like Soubin Shahir, Baiju, and Narain. Sanjeev says.
The film’s texture is intense, partly because it is told from a child’s point of view and hence, both challenging and scopeful for Sidhanshu whose dream is to be an actor like Mammootty. To portray the complexity of the character, Sidhashu underwent an intensive training workshop, say his parents.
“Since the age of six, whenever we asked him about his birthday wish, he would say, ‘Please make me an actor’. Initially, we thought it was just curiosity but as he grew older, his passion for becoming an actor only intensified,” Deepti Pillay Sivan, Sanjeev’s wife, actor-filmmaker, and the producer of Ozhuki Ozhuki Ozhuki, says.
Sidhanshu’s passion for films had received the backing of his grandfather (Sivan) whose last wish was to see him on the silver screen. “Sanjeev reminded us of how our family played a crucial role in launching some big names in the film industry. It would not be right to ignore our son’s passion,” Deepthi says.
Sanjeev feels his son’s decision reflects the trend of a generation that knows early on what they want to do and for which they neither need or entertain guidance or advice. “With access to various OTT platforms this generation is well-informed about what is happening across the world, genres of film, and more,” he adds.