Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dream debut

Small screen fame Sohanlal makes his silver screen directorial debut with Orkkuka Vallappozhum featuring Thilakan in the lead role, writes KK Moidu

Young director Sohanlal won the hearts of small screen audience by producing and directing tele films, talk shows, reality shows etc. Sohanlal, the brain behind Raga Ratnam Junior, ventures into the big screen and legendary actor Thilakan plays the lead in his maiden venture Orkkuka Vallappozhum. Sohanlal himself pens the script of the film and debutante Shilpa Bala plays the role of the heroine. The film will be produced by Vinu YS under the banner of God's Own Movies. M Jayachandran tunes music and the audience will get an opportunity to listen to the late Malayalam poet and lyricist P Bhaskaran's poem in the film. Director Sohanlal armed with a PG Diploma in Web Design and BA Literature came into the limelight in 2006 with the tele-cinema Neermathalathinte Pookkal. It was based on the famous book Neermathalampootha Kaalam of Kamala Suraiya better known as Madhavikkutty aka Kamala Das. Neermathalathinte Pookkal is a poignant expression of the memories of celebrated Indian female writer and poet Kamala Das. Praveena played Kamala Das's role in her thirties in the telefilm. The famous Nalappat ancestral house at Punnayoorkulam in Thrissur and the pomegranate tree featured in Neermathalampootha Kaalam has created a nostalgic feeling for all the readers. Neermathalathinte Pookkal aired on Amrita TV, not only won critical acclaim but also fetched many best director awards for Sohanlal like Federation For Better Films Award, Kerala Film Audience Council Award, Film City Award and Prem Nazir Foundations Ist TV Award. Sohanlal created news earlier with his work Pedakam based on famous French author Guy de Maupassant's story. He secured a place in the hearts of mini screen viewers and won several best telefilm director awards for Pedakam like Malayalam Television Viewers Award, Sri Chithira Thirunal Smaraka Award, Hi-Tech Cinemaghala Award, Kerala Film Critic Special Jury Award and Kerala State Special Jury Award. Sohanlal was born on Nov.14, 1976 at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He started his career at an early age as a production assistant and script writer in Doordarshan. He has been associated with all the major TV Channels in Kerala like Asianet, Kairali, Jeevan, Indiavision and Amrita TV in his more than a decade mini screen career. He, a gulf returnee, is currently working as the senior programme producer and promo in-charge of Amrita TV. He has shown courage to produce and direct programmes like Raga Ratnam Junior aired on Amrita TV. The prime time show Raga Ratnam Junior continued the airing on Amrita TV even after the final episodes because of the viewer's demand. His other production venture Cinema Vicharana for Amrita TV won him the Thikkurussi Foundation Award for Best Film Based Programme in 2005. Cinema Vicharana anchored by actress Cuckoo Parameswaran was different from other regular cinema programmes on the TV channels. It was all about film personalities. The audience also got an opportunity to question and criticise the film makers and analyse their work and contributions to the industry. Sohanlal won best music programme producer award from Kerala Film and Audience Council Award, Minnalai TV Award and CIL Award for Chitranjali aired on Amrita TV. The musical programme was a tribute to the greatest classical film songs of Bollywood. Kerala's musicians rendered the great Hindi classic songs they heard in their favourite super hit films of the past few decades in the programme. Sohanlal entertained the mini screen audience for the past ten years and has succeeded in winning the hearts of people in most of his works. Instead of going for a safe bet at the box-office, he has shown courage for crafting a meaningful film with Thilakan in the lead. Though Thilakan is a talented actor and proved his excellence in all the roles given to him so far, he was rarely cast in lead roles and only few directors have utilised the National Award Winner actor skillfully. Ace actor Thilakan has given life to thousands of characters in his long span of more than five decades career as an actor. He is one of the finest actors of the Indian screen. He became a full time actor in 1955 after he was expelled from college. He sharpened his acting skills during this period and formed a drama troupe Mundakkayam Nataka Samithy with few friends. The veteran actor has completed his Golden Jubilee in acting and worked with famous drama troupes like KPAC, Kalidasa Kala Kendra, Changanasserry Geetha and PJ Antony's troupe. His realistic acting and the special dialogue delivery has made him a favourite. Although he worked with leading drama troupes in Kerala, his entry into filmdom made him a household name in Kerala. He started his cinema career by doing a small role in Ulkadal. However, his lead role as a drunkard, Kallu Varkey, in Kolangal and his role in Yavanika established him as an actor. He won the State Award for his roles in Yavanika, Santhanagopalam and Gamanam in 1981, 1995 and 1998 respectively. He received the second Best Actor National Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Rithubedham. Thilakan played the lead in National Award winning film Ekantham last year and the actor was considered for the Best Actor National Award for his performance in the film and lost to none other than Big B. Thilakan was earlier examined for National Best Actor Award for his role in Perumthachan. His other notable films are Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal, Vendor Daniel, My Dear Muthachan, Godfather, Amritam Gamaya, Kireedam, Sphadikam, Moonnam Pakkam, Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal, Mookilla Rajyathu, Kattu Kuthira etc. Although he appears in the news headlines for one reason or the other, he was not getting many offers from cinema because of an unofficial boycott. The veteran actor will be back by playing a lead as a 75-year-old character Sethu Madhavan in Orkkuka Vallappozhum. His role as Sethu Madhavan — who tracks back his life to the age of innocence — has ample scope for performance. Hope the debutante director Sohanlal will use the immense talent of Thilakan, which other veteran film-makers failed to do.

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