The sultry Julie, in a knee-length flowery frock and a sensuous smile on her face had won the hearts of a generation. ‘Chattakkari’ released in 1974 and subsequently the Hindi version ‘Julie’ released the next year went on to become blockbusters. The script was an out and out heroine-oriented one and Lakshmi - who played the female part in both versions became extremely popular. And now with the latest adaptation of the movie due for release on Thursday, the new-age Julie, Shamna Kasim says she is a bundle of nerves.
“Initially when I was offered the role, I was confused since I knew very little about the movie except the evergreen song, ‘Julie...I love you ‘. Then when I saw the older version, I was enamoured by the character and immediately called up the director and expressed my interest to do the film,” says an excited Shamna, for whom ‘Chattakkari’ is the first Mollywood release as a leading lady.
The film is about a relationship between a young Anglo-Indian girl and a Hindu boy. Both are in love with each other, but their respective religions comes in the way. Julie’s mother is aghast and so is the boy’s family.
When the film released, inter-religious marriages were a taboo, which is why the theme made such an impact. However, things have changed in the last few decades, and even if inter-religion is still frowned upon by many families, people in general have become more accepting.
How then does Shamna think the theme to be relevant to the present generation? “‘Chattakkari’ is a present day story, and I feel the issue the film depicts holds true even today. The movie has been treated in a modern way, and I play a contemporary character. She is Julie of the present day. She’s is bold and alluring. And the remake in general will have more highlights.”
The Anglo-Indian community, being a minority community in the state, has not been much filmed. Shamna says having grown up in the midst of Anglo-Indians in her hometown in Kannur, she has always had an affinity towards them. “During my school days I had a close circuit of friends, and one among them was an Anglo-Indian girl. I also had a teacher who belonged to the community. And personally too, I’ve always been curious about their lifestyle,” she says.
The only issue while filming ‘Chattakkari’ was doing the romantic scenes, Shamna laughs.
“The movie is about romance and mine is a passionate character. But this became an issue for me initially. One reason was that the hero(Hemanth) and I met for the first time during the photo shoot. But my shyness eased off, thanks to the encouragement provided by the director Santhosh Sethumadhavan (son of director K S Sethu Madhavan who took the original version of Chattakkari). I had no qualms in wearing short skirts and frocks for the film, because the character demands it. I was thoroughly comfortable during the shoot, and I feel as an actor I should not get myself confined to certain type of roles only.”
Shamna says the best part of ‘Chattakkari’ is the second half when Julie undergoes several traumatic experiences. “The second half demands a more challenging act from me more than the love-sick girl I play in the first half,” says Shamna who expects to do more character-driven roles in Malayalam in the future.