Cinema has always been an eternal fascination for M Sajas, who is making his screenwriting debut through Mandharam, starring Asif Ali. He feels that the stories about how someone got into films can be, at times, more interesting than the films themselves. "It's easy to get into films. If you're extremely passionate and strive towards your goal, you can at least manage to be an assistant director, script assistant or a junior artiste."
Sajas has an admiration for those who leave their jobs and homes to pursue filmmaking. "It's easy to make any film but it's relatively difficult to make the kind of film that you want to make: for that, you'll have have to make certain sacrifices. And I know many friends who have taken that extra leap."
It took several frustratingly disappointing experiences to get this far, says Sajas. "When I was nearly done with my college education, I tried and failed to work in the films of some senior directors. I also tried to do something with some of my closest buddies. Hanging out with these guys helped me get over the disheartening fact that we failed to get into a reputed film institute. Some of them have signed their first films and the others are almost getting there."
A couple of Sajas' plans got cancelled at the last minute due to some technical reasons. "You waste your time and energy and then people nonchalantly tell you that it's commonplace in the movie industry."
An opportunity to work on Vineeth Kumar's screenplay of Ranjith's Ayal Njanalla turned the tide in Sajas' favour.
He says Mandharam happened as a result of a similar friendship. "Vijesh Vijay (director of Mandharam) is someone who is extremely passionate about cinema and works hard to accomplish his goals. Cinema is a shared interest for us. He is very clear about the kind of film he wants to make and his primary aim is to entertain the audience."
He calls Asif Ali a hard-working actor who loves cinema as much as he does his own life. "He has put aside all his other projects for the sake of retaining his three getups in this film. In fact, he managed to find more time for this film than for any other. He has put his everything into it."
A first look poster was just released two days ago, and Sajas hasn't been able to fully evaluate the work they've done so far. He calls the film a clean romantic entertainer that can be seen by all kinds of audiences. "It's about the friendships, loves, and familial bonds of a young man named Rajesh."
Kannada actress Varsha Bollamma, who made her Malayalam acting debut with Kalyanam, plays the first female lead, and Anarkali Marikar, who debuted in Malayalam with Aanandam, plays the second female lead. Apart from the three, Jacob Gregory, Arjunan Asokan and Vineeth Vishwam appear in supporting roles.
Sajas calls Mandharam's technical aspects -- cinematography (Bahul Ramesh), music (Mujeeb Majeed), and editing (Vivek Harshan, who won a National award for Jigarthanda) -- its main highlights. A video song release is in the offing. Mandharam is Magic Mountain Cinemas' first production venture. The company has plans to make more films in Malayalam.