Winner of seven national awards, Jayaraj has come up with the latest of his 'Navarasa' series – Raudram. Set in the backdrop of the unprecedented deluge in Kerala in 2018, the movie tells the story of an old couple trapped in a house during the floods.
The movie has been selected to the Cairo International Film Festival's international panorama. In a chat with Onmanorama, Jayaraj uncovers the contexts of his latest movie 'Raudram 2018.'
Choosing Kerala floods as the backdrop of the movie
We had witnessed with unnerving fear the magnitude of the floods that had devastated several parts of the state in 2018. I felt nature's fury is the best means to portray enormity of fear. When the state was in the grip of floods in 2018, I came to know about the fate of an elderly husband and wife, who had to live on the attic of their house for several as they were unnoticed by rescuers and neighbours. The husband suffered from dementia and the wife was physically weak. So I thought this could be the best plot for the movie.
Telling the story through the eyes of an old couple
The effort has been to portray the essence of fury (raudra rasa) from the perspective of the victim who is in direct encounter with danger. The movie captures nature's fury from the perspective of the affected. Only they could realise the intensity of the flood fury more than those who saw it from outside. I chose this subject because I personally knew the incident and was deeply touched by it. During the floods, we had seen so many distressed old couples fighting against the odds with their low agility, some of who were acutely ill. many of those old people had their children well-settled or working in foreign countries.
Highlights of 'Raudram 2018'
The performances of Renji Panicker and KPAC Leela were mind blowing. Leela is a veteran theatre artist who had reached the pinnacle of stardom through her performance in old plays like 'Ashwamedham', 'Thulabharam'. Meanwhile Renji's reprisal would be something one should watch out for. In 'Raudram 2018' we see a master performer in him. His performance in this film has been entirely different from that of 'Bhayanakam'.
Taking a break from Navarasa (nine emotions) series
I think I have had invested a great amount of time in exploring the 'Navarasas' for my films. Now I am thinking of taking a break from the pursuit of 'Navarasa' series and get ready for commercial flicks. After 'Raudram 2018', shooting of a film titled 'Backpackers' with Kalidas Jayaram and Karthika Nair in the lead, have already been completed. It's a step towards turning to commercial cinema again for a while. I am also planning 'Johny Walker 2' with Kuttappayi of the first version as the central character.