This is director Jeethu Joseph's ninth directorial venture, but 'Aadhi' is giving him the jitters unlike anything before. He realises the hype and expectations surrounding the movie and its lead, Pranav Mohanlal. With a surname that will throw a real challenge to live up to, Pranav is expected to work wonders in 'Aadhi' and the mantle rests upon Jeethu to give him that platform. Jeethu realises it. He says: "Lal Sir and Suchitra have entrusted me with their son's career launch. That is indeed a great responsibility. My job is to explore his talent and bring it to the fore. So far, things are great. They have seen 'Aadhi' and are happy with it. But, it is the audience who have to give the final verdict."
Pranav made his debut as a child actor in Onnaman (2002) but it was his role as Appu in Punarjani, in the same year, that brought to light the actor in him. Pranav's performance won him the State Award for Best Child Artist. Naturally, Jeethu wasn't very worried about the "talent part". "Pranav has already proved his potential. So, whether or not he can act wasn't a question here. But, like any other newbie, he had his share of hiccups, too. Then, that is something that has to be gained with experience. It comes only when your body of work grows," says Jeethu.
The actor's transformation to Adithya Mohan, the protagonist in 'Aadhi', was easy too, says Jeethu. He thinks that may be because Adithya shares a few similarities with Pranav. "The process was natural, though Pranav took two days to warm up. He used to observe other people working. Then on, he got easily into the groove," says the director.
So, how much of Mohanlal can we see in him? Jeethu says, except for dedication and passion for the craft, both are very different in the way they emote and approach a character. "But, the whole point is not to replicate Mohanlal. Pranav has a different identity as an actor," he adds.The trailers of 'Aadhi' have already created a lot of buzz, but Jeethu clarifies that 'Aadhi' isn't a suspense thriller. "It is an action thriller. There is no suspense here. But, what I aim to trigger is curiosity," says the director.
But, Jeethu has clearly taken an unconventional approach this time. His hero has no romantic thread. Jeethu says he is aware that it is not exactly a norm while launching an actor. "It is uncommon to not have a romantic thread when a protagonist is a young man. But, the challenge is in bringing in a change. I think that adds to the freshness," says Jeethu.
'Aadhi' will hit the screens this Friday.