How a story is told matters more than what is being said: Sachy

 thehindu.com  01/14/2020 10:44:45 

Sachy is the man of the moment. Even as Driving Licence, a movie he scripted, is setting the cash registers ringing, Sachy is busy with the post-production work of his next film as a writer-director, Ayyappanum Koshiyum, which will release soon. The lawyer-turned-writer entered Mollywood in the company of fellow-writer Sethu with movies such as Chocolate, Robin Hood, Makeup Man, Seniors and Doubles.

After the duo decided to work independently, Sachy scripted Run Baby Run, Chettayees, Ramaleela, Sherlock Toms and Driving Licence. His maiden film as a director, Anarkali, came out in 2015. Sachy talks about his work and why he feels commercial cinema is focused on entertainment in this tte--tte with FridayReview. Edited excerpts:

What is Ayyappanum Koshiyum about?

Although I cant pinpoint the genre the movie falls into, the narrative is that of a mass entertainer. Prithviraj plays Koshi Kurian, a retired havildar from an influential family, living in Kattappana. Biju Menon dons the role of Ayyappan Nair, a sub-inspector on the verge of retirement. The story is set in the forests of Attappadi where an incident takes place between the two. Although I have used politics as a backdrop in Ramaleela, in Ayyappanum Koshiyum, its just a subtext.

What is it in a script that makes you decide to direct the story?

I entered the film industry to become a director. Sethu and I teamed up as scenarists after our plans to direct Robin Hood did not materialise. While writing for another director, the story should suit that persons tastes. I wanted to make my debut as a director with a movie that required some effort. Anarkali had such a plot and it was set in a different terrain. However, my next film has been written by two new writers.

After Anarkali, you are working again with Prithviraj and Biju Menon in Ayyappanum Koshiyum ...?

In Ayyappanum Koshiyum, Prithviraj and Biju Menon are protagonists and antagonists at the same time. Biju plays a character older than himself. I wanted Biju for the film as I felt he could play the role subtly. The character had to be strong and physically fit too. In Anarkali his was more of a supporting role, it was sweet of him to accept the offer.

What do you think worked in favour of Driving Licence?

Although the plot revolves around an ego trip between a superstar and his fan, their emotional ups and downs carry the story ahead. Those feelings have been balanced not just in the script, but by director Lal Jr. as well, which I feel worked in the films favour.

Prithviraj mentioned that he would have liked to play the fan, if Mammootty were to play the superstar in Driving Licence as per the original plan.

There were certain things in the script that Mammookka (Mammootty) was not convinced about, especially in the scenes towards the climax. He explained his reservations to me and I understood what he was saying. Now that the movie is making waves at the box office, there is no point in thinking about the past.

How does a story evolve or how do you find your story?

More than finding a story, the basic storyline might be based on an experience I have had. For instance, Driving Licence was a thought that occurred to me when a funny incident happened while I was taking my driving test. In the case of Anarkali, the climax was the first to evolve. I was stuck in Kalpeni island, Lakshadweep a few years ago when I heard about medical evacuation by air for urgent cases, which triggered the idea. And the first thought of Ayyappanum Koshiyum came as a situation between a youth and his driver.

You take long gaps in between your scripts...

I dont consider script writing as a spontaneous art. For me, how a story is told matters more than what is being said. So I start writing only after a thought is fully developed. Some of my friends say I sit down to write only when I am done with all my travelling and partying (laughs). But the script of Chettayees was written in a short time frame and it didnt work the way I would have liked it to.

You have mentioned that Chettayees was inspired by your gang of friends. Were you disappointed when it failed to make an impact?

The basic storyline of Chettayees is about a woman retaliating after certain situations. The focus, however, got diverted with a few scenes in the first half, which gave viewers a different vibe. The movie didnt work that well commercially and, of course, I was disappointed.

Your body of work seems to be focussed on entertainment?

There is a huge segment of viewers who dont go for realistic movies. My effort is to target them with entertainers.

Does your involvement as a writer depend on whether or not you are directing the movie?

When my role is just that of a scenarist, my job is mostly over once the director is convinced with the script. I prefer to leave it to the directors creative freedom instead of getting into his space. I rarely go to the sets while the shooting is under way. When I am the director, the actual effort starts with the shooting. Obviously directing a movie gives me tremendous satisfaction.

You wrote five scripts with Sethu. What were the pluses or minuses of being part of a duo?

Even when we came together to write scripts, we had our own ideas. As both of us wanted to become directors, we decided to join hands as writers till we got a foothold in the industry and then branch off as independent filmmakers.

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