Captivated by cinema: Interview with film director Jayaraj

Jayaraj film Niraye thathakal
Jayaraj film Niraye thathakalulla Maram

The Covid period, contrary to popular perception, was a time when director Jayaraj had a lot of films in hand. Since last January, he has directed five films. Out of this ‘Niraye Thathakalulla Maram’ was selected at the Indian Panorama. Other films include T Padmanabhan’s ‘Prakasham Parathunna Penkutti’, MT Vasudevan Nair’s ‘Swargam Thurakkunna Samayam’, ‘Aval’, and ‘Pramadhavanam’. The censoring of all three films was done on the same day. According to Jayaraj, this was his way of telling the world how they can make themselves productive by working within the constraints of the pandemic.

Jayaraj has written the script for ‘Niraye Thathakalude Maram’ and ‘Aval.’

Prakasham Parathunna Penkutti’ (The Girl who spreads sunshine)

T Padmanabhan’s ‘Prakasham Parathunna Penkutti’ is about a man who returns back to life from the brink of death. Drowned in sorrows, he decides to watch a film carrying a bottle of poison. But a girl whom he meets at the theatre offers him a ray of hope and dissuades him from taking his life. Meenakshi Anoop plays the girl who spreads sunshine (or light) in his life.

Alwin plays the main lead and KPAC Leela also plays an important role. The film is produced by Alwin Antony, Manu Padmanabhan Nair, Biju Thoranathel, and Jayachandran Kalledathu while cinematography is by Nikhil S Praveen. The shooting was at Kannur and Kottayam.

Earlier at Kannur Fort, a group of artists had presented the light and sound version of ‘Prakasham Parathunna Penkutti.’ It was Mammootty who read the last paragraph of the story. That baritone voice added magic to the show.

Niraye Thathakalulla Maram’ (A tree full of Parrots)

‘Niraye Thathakalulla Maram’ is about an elderly person who has lost his sense of hearing and memory. CV Narayanan who is visually challenged and is the main teacher at the Dharmashala Model Blind school plays the leading role. He hails from Kannur Mayyil Cherupazhassi. The elderly man forgets his way home once he reaches the city. Finally, it is a fisherman’s son who helps him find his way back home. Master Adityan plays the part of the fisherman’s son. All he knows is that his house is near a tree that had a lot of parrots. The film revolves around the search and the events surrounding it. Jayaraj’s wife Sabitha also plays an important role in the film. Another highlight of the film is that they have used the famous poem by Vayalar Rama Varma and LPR Varma called ‘Kayalinarike Pokan Enikkoru Kali Vallamundaiyirunnu.’ But CJ Kannan has given a new tune to the poem which has been sung by CJ Kuttappan. Noob T Chacko was the cinematographer. Produced by Vinu R Nath, editing was by Vipin Mannoor. The film was selected for the IFFK.

Swargam Thurakkunna Samayam’ (The time when heavens open)

Also Thespian Nedumudi Venu’s last film. This is part of an anthology for Netflix that has ten stories written by MT Vasudevan Nair. ‘Swargam Thurakkunna Samayam’ revolves around Madhavan Master who is bedridden, awaiting his death. The narrative takes us through the anxieties and concerns of his relatives. Indrans and Surabhi also play significant roles.

Aval’ (Her)

‘Aval’ is about the trials and tribulations of a deaf and mute girl who works as a domestic help. Prabha who works in various homes manages to collect the discarded furniture and other miscellanies from these homes and builds a dream house for herself. Surabhi plays Prabha. KPAC Lalitha and Niranjana Anoop play the other important characters. The film is produced by Manoj Govind and Shibu Nair, edited by CR Sreejith, cinematography by Sachu Saji and music is by CJ Kannan.


‘Pramadhavanam’ is a romantic film based on Madhavikutty’s story. Unni Mukundan, Kailas and Hollywood actor Varada Sethu play the lead characters. Dr Thambi is the producer, Sachu Saji is the cinematographer and Dileep Damodaran is the editor.  

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