Shahi Kabeer talks about Nayattu and his special bond with Joju

Screen writer Shahi Kabeer has once again mesmerized the audience with his latest outing Nayattu, after the critically acclaimed police drama Joseph. The spectacular plot and the perfectly written characters in Nayattu are truly haunting. That is the reason why Maniyan, Pravin Michael and Sunita get etched in the hearts of the audience even after the movie gets over. There hasn’t been a contemporary Malayalam cinema that has represented the present society in the most truthful way, like Nayattu did. Even though the movie boasts of a stellar star cast, the screenplay doesn’t offer any over the top cinematic sequences just to elicit a few applauds from their fans. The audience too would be stung by the grim experiences that the characters go through as the plot unfolds. Nayattu, which takes a strong political stand, says that it is the Dalit community which is always at the receiving end. The movie, which continues to run in packed theaters, despite the pandemic situation, has opened a venue for debate too. Shahi, in a candid chat with Manorama Online, speaks about the open ended climax of Nayattu and also about his future plans.

Uneasy climax

“I feel that the movie wouldn’t have initiated any meaningful conversations or debates had we given a proper climax for Nayattu. That is why I decided to go for an open ended climax. Yes, I was skeptical whether the audience would easily accept such a climax. I was aware that the climax is going to upset the majority of audience who wish to leave the theaters happy and satisfied. However, we decided to end the movie like this, without giving it a climax that the audience wishes for. The Covid restrictions have definitely affected the collection of the movie. But the movie is receiving favorable responses from the theaters,” says Shahi.

Stressful police

Shahi says in many cases in which police men are the accused, their identities are protected. He feels that they often fall prey to the intricate political games played by someone else. Many untoward incidents that happen in the police stations are due to the severe stress and frustrations that the police men go through, while in duty. However, they do not happen based on any pre conceived notions or prejudices. “The turning point in the film happens from an insult that Kunchacko Boban’s character suffers. It is the CI who insults this character. The superior officer enters the police station by abusing everyone because of some problem. That frustration is then vented out at others. This, like a chain reaction, ends up in a bigger problem,” explains Shahi.

Idea that came before Joseph

Shahi joined the crew of the acclaimed movie Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum as an assistant director after giving an almost completed script of Joseph to Joju. The actor then asked Shahi to watch the Tamil movie Visaranai which he said was an amazing film. Shahi told Joju that there was a similar theme in his mind too. The screenwriter said that he might get influenced if he watched the Tamil film. “This movie has been in my mind since then. However, I began writing it only after Jospeh released. I and Joju had narrated this story first to Martin Prakkat. He liked it very much. Later, Ranjith too heard the story. He readily agreed to produce the movie. That is how Nayattu happened,” notes Shahi.

Nimisha and Chackochan

Shahi admits he couldn’t picture any other artiste other than Nimisha to play the character of Sunita. She even had very few dialogues in the film. “If the audience is still talking about her character, despite having lesser screen time and dialogues, it’s only because of her fabulous performance. They are still haunted by her character. The emotions were amazingly emoted by Nimisha. The character Pravin Michael in Nayattu is definitely one of the best in Chackochan’s career. Joju’s character Maniyan is the one who dominates the screenplay. He is in fact the lead. Chackochan and Nimisha have done an equally wonderful job,” Shahi has only great words to tell about his actors.

Another police story

Shahi reveals that Joju wasn’t given the completed script of Joseph before the movie went on floors. The actor agreed to do the movie after listening to the one line. Shahi says they share a unique trust that is quite special. He could call Joju at any time and ask him to listen to a story. “We definitely share a special bond. Moreover, my stories perfectly communicate with Joju. A movie becomes great not when an actor agrees to act in it only after completing the script. If an artist says ‘ok’ before completing the script, then I could write it in a way to utilize his maximum potential. So, I would write again for Joju. My next one too is a police story. But, it would be different from both Joseph and Nayattu,” promises Shahi. 

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