M Padmakumar, the man of realistic movies, is back at his forte. In his latest directorial venture, ‘Jalam’, Padmakumar will deal with the woes of the landless who struggle for a shelter.
The movie starring state-award winning actor Priyanka Nair, who is back after a brief hiatus, will portray the anguish and conflict of a family who has been evicted from Pathanamthitta and granted a title deed for a piece of land at Ernakulam. But, their dreams and plans go haywire when they find out that another family too owns the title deed for the same land.
More miseries await them when the man of the family dies in an accident. It is this pain and struggle of a single mother that Padmakumar depicts onscreen. “The issue of the land and title deed is very relevant these days. People are asked to surrender their land and the land offered in lieu is not what they expect. ‘Jalam’ shows the struggle and pain of a woman who finds her survival at stake,” says Padmakumar.
The director says he took up this project after spotting a news item on the plight of Usha and Jomon, a family who had to snuggle under a bridge at Kottayam after losing their home and land. “Their tale inspired me. I met them to learn more about their plight. It touched me and I decided to do this project,” says the director.
Jalam, scripted by T Suresh Kumar, is being produced by T A Andrews and the director himself under the banner of Life in Trains. Vinod Illampilly will crank the camera. Jain of ‘Shikkar’ fame will play Priyanka’s husband in the movie and Prakash Bare will play a prominent character. The director of critically-acclaimed ‘Vastavam’ and ‘Ammakilikoodu’ says ‘Jalam’ has a strong social message.
“The movie is very relevant these days. The sole purpose of making this movie is for its social relevance and not money. Most of the people associated with the movie has forfeited their pay. The movie is being made in a shoestring budget and only natural light was used,” says Padmakumar who says he would prefer to be known as a director who wants to give society a message.
Padmakumar says he zeroed in on Priyanka to play the protagonist because he wanted someone with refined acting chops. “She has already proved her talent. The movie is a female-oriented one and the focus is entirely on her right from the scene one,” says Padmakumar.
Though his latest outing ‘Polytechnic’ was a comic venture, Padmakumar says he is at ease with his style of movies which is realistic, earthy and meaningful.
“Cinema is a strong social medium. As someone who is active in the cinema medium, I always wanted to contribute to the betterment of the society despite the risk factor involved in making non-commercial movies. I think ‘Jalam’ is a step in this regard,” says the director.