Interview with Lalji Director “Chithariyavar”
When Dubai-based Malayalee businessmen VKS Devan and K Jalal decided to join hands to produce a film, they decided that their maiden venture would be something meaningful. They wanted to make a good film and wanted it to be something different from the usual stuff seen nowadays. And hence they entrusted the job of directing their debut production venture to yet another Dubai-based young man, Lalji George. Working as an accountant in a private firm in Dubai, Lalji George has established himself as a writer and a media man too. And thus began the making of Chithariyavar, produced under the banner of Global Creations.
Chithariyavar tells the story of Viswanathan, a person belonging to the ‘dalit’ class and etches his search for his roots and also for his identity. It is Sreenivasan who plays the role of Viswanathan, while he is accompanied in the cast by Maya Moushmi, Divya, Sangeetha, Swathi Mohan, Mundoor Krishnankutty and Vinu Abraham. The story for the film is written by MK Harikumar, a writer and critic. GR Indugopan, a journalist and novelist, pens the script for the film. Noted cinematographer KG Jayan cranks the camera while Johnson scores the background music. Almost ready for release, the film also features the inclusion of some folk songs.
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Lalji George is a writer who had penned many stories in leading Malayalam periodicals and has also made some documentaries and a television serial titled Sayoojyam, which was aired on Asianet. This young man, who is a film enthusiast, spoke to Screen about his debut venture, Chithariyavar.
What’s the theme of Chithariyavar?
The film tells the story of a young man named Viswanathan, who belongs to the lower strata of society - the Dalit class. The film etches his search for his roots. The focus is also on his search for an identity in today’s world.
Tell us more about the protagonist.Viswanathan teaches in a parallel college and supplements his income by catching frogs from marshes. He then supplies the frogs to schools and colleges for laboratory purposes.
What kind of treatment have you attempted?
I have endeavoured to make it into a very simple film, so that people understand it clearly and enjoy it too. I have got all the support regarding this from the producers as well as the scenarist. The artistes too have cooperated in every possible way.
This seems to be an offbeat film. What made you make an offbeat film for your debut venture?I won’t call it an offbeat film. Neither would I call it an ‘art’ film or ‘commercial’ film. I have tried to make a good, meaningful film. I have always loved meaningful cinema. So, I had decided earlier itself that my first film would be a good, meaningful film that would have something to say and not just meaningless trash.
What else would you like to say?
I am very much thankful to the producers, who have given me all freedom - creative and otherwise. They never interfered with my work and gave me utmost freedom to spend as much as is needed for the realisation of the subject. There were no constraints from their side.
Its really surprising. Debutante producers bestowing so much of trust upon a debutante director, and that too in the making of an offbeat film! How did this happen?The producers know me personally and have confidence in me and my style of working. And they too, like me, are lovers of meaningful cinema. Maybe that’s what prompted them to take the risk. I am sure that I would be able to do full justice to the trust they have placed on me.