I could never conceive 'Bramayugam' in colour: Director Rahul Sadasivan

The director said he was lucky to have supportive producers. Photo | Instagram

 'Bramayugam', which hit theatres on Thursday, is receiving wide appreciation both for its technical brilliance and the performance of all the actors. The film, which was shot entirely in black-and-white, features Mammootty as a weathered tantrik who lords over a mana (traditional Brahmin household). Onmanorama catches up with filmmaker Rahul Sadasivan about why he decided to shoot the film in black and white and his inspiration to do the movie with Mammootty.

So, what was the inspiration to do a black and white movie?

I don’t know. I conceived this project only in black and white and could not think of ‘Bramayugam’ in colour. Right from the start, I would show people the shots in black and white. They were also excited about it. Also, I was sure mounting a movie in black and white with Mammootty in the lead would create intrigue in people.

Was the black and white format included to induce horror?

To an extent, it might have helped the film, but that was not really why it was set in black and white. Basically, the film is set in the 17th century and it being a period film, I needed to give it that treatment.

There is a substantial time gap between your second film ‘Bhoothakaalam’ and ‘Bramayugam’

I wrote Bramayugam before Bhoothakalam. My second movie was mounted on a smaller scale. I decided to do Bramayugam after I proved myself with a smaller-budget film like ‘Bhoothakaalam’. Also, I was sure a film like Bramayugam needed a superstar like Mammukka.

How long did you take to write the script of ‘Bramayugam?’

I started writing the film during Covid and took eight months to complete the script. I sought T D Ramakrishnan sir’s help with my script and he was instrumental in making the dialogues nuanced and perfect for the time period it was set in.

Your previous work ‘Bhoothakaalam’ was a psychological horror film. How different is ‘Bramayugam’?

Boothakalam’s focus was on the emotions between the mother and son. The audience were concerned for their safety. There was a lot of tension involved. The movie dealt with mental health. It was also an example of how a story could be told in a minimalist way. ‘Bramayugam’ is a fictional story told in a fictional space. I don’t intent to scare my audience with ‘Bramayugam’ , rather my intention is to provide them with a different experience.

Did you find this movie a challenge especially due to its experimental nature?

The first and most important thing is to have a producer who could back you and I was lucky enough that I got Chakravarthy Ramachandra and S Sashikanth sir to support me. I was blessed with a good producer like Anwar Rasheed for ‘Bhoothakaalam’.

So, you have always been a fan of horror movies?

I enjoy all sorts of films, but I love this genre a lot. In horror, there is a pace, a style to which a story can be told. You can use static frames sans characters in an empty room and tell a story visually. I like to explore that narrative style.

How is the market for horror films in Mollywood?

It is a genre that has not been explored well. I am trying to use that space to tell that type of stories. The Malayali audience will get used to that kind of storytelling only if filmmakers explore that genre well. In Europe, different kinds of horror have been tried, tested and explored in movies.

You might have seen the fan theories surrounding your film prior to its release…

Yes (laughs). It was fun to read the assumptions and interpretations. I am also glad people took the initiative to be creative and generate a discussion about my film.

Will your next film also be from the horror genre?

It’s too early to say, but let’s see (laughs).

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