Over the years, Mollywood has produced some hard-hitting satires, so much so that gems such as Sandesham, Vellanakalude Nadu, Panchavadi Palam, Pranchiyettan & the Saint and more in that genre continue to tickle the funny bone. Filmmaker Shambu Purushothaman says his second directorial venture, Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte, slated to hit the marquee later this month, is a social satire that depicts certain incidents and goof-ups revolving around a betrothal, which brings together friends and relatives.
“Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte is set in a Christian context. We see characters of differing traits, manners and temperaments coming together for the betrothal and how this diversity affects the general harmony. Inevitably, problems crop up and things spin out of hand,” says Shambu over phone.
Just like his previous outing, the 2013 sex comedy Vedivazhipadu that raised some eyebrows for its bawdy humour through a story of three friends and their secret plans on the day of the famous Attukal Pongala, Paapam Cheyyathavar Kalleriyatte too carries a narrative with a short time-frame, effectively serving as a fitting vehicle to dissect human behaviour, says Shambu.
“The film is essentially a social commentary, with a generous serving of humour. However, certainly not slapstick but the kind of humour the viewer has to derive himself. My attempt is to represent serious topics in the garb of comedy, which makes them more digestible,” adds the Thiruvananthapuram-native, preferring not to divulge more about the plot. The movie is scripted by Shambu himself.
The filmmaker says PCK weaves in several subplots that altogether packs in a range of characters as he trains his observation on some “hypocrisies” seen in the society. “It’s not a story of just one person, but of a community, and hence by extension, a caricature of the society. Those who flit in and out of the screen serve as a sample cross-section,” says Shambu, a graduate of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute in Kolkata.
The cast includes Vinay Forrt, Srinda, Tini Tom, Alencier, Madhupal, Santhy Balachadran, Saiju Kurup, Sunil Sukhada, Arun Kurian, Anumol K Manoharan, and Ambika Mohan among others. Shambu says the movie predominantly features indoor locations, which were shot in Kochi, while the outdoor portions were filmed near Mala in Thrissur. It has one song, ‘Minnal villal’, written by Anu Elizabeth Jose and set to tune by Prasanth Pillai. Cinematography is by Jomon Thomas, his junior in film school.
Speaking about the rather catchy title, Shambu says the biblical phrase has significance in what he endeavours to convey through the movie. “We have a tendency to easily judge others. When people claim they have opinion on anything and everything, often they mean their judgements. The assumption is we, perhaps, know everything about what we pass our judgements on. The fact that it (the phrase) comes from the Bible attests to how long such traits have been in us and it has not changed,” says the 40-year-old, adding that PCK zooms in on the importance of tolerance, acceptance of others and their point of view.
Shambu avers that, for him, a story is “a tool, a medium” to slice and dice the society and express his “insights and observations” gained from a detached reflection.
“But I like to lighten discussion of such serious topics and taboos with humour. The focus will still be on the commentary,” says the filmmaker, who finds K G George’s Panchavadi Palam as the epitome of satire in Malayalam cinema, while citing some of Sreenivasan’s yesteryear classics as well as inspiration.