The Arun Gopy Interview: Let the audience seal the fate of Ramleela

"While it is true that there’s been negativity around there’s also been positivity and support for and from our Ramleela team. Besides, haven’t you heard the adage that if you fall in the beginning you can rise high in the end!"

Amidst scandals, controversy and a boycott campaign Ramleela starring Dileep is gearing for a full-throttle release on Thursday. Busy promoting his film, debutant director Arun Gopy makes some time for us to talk about his film and his journey so far.

  • You have nurtured your cinema Ramleela for almost 5 years. On the eve of the release how do you feel- nervous or happy?
  • Right now I feel blank like a white sheet of paper. I know there is underlying happiness, joy and excitement and also nervousness of anticipation in my heart. But right now all I can feel is numb.
  • Unlike any debutant you have faced lot more hurdles to get this movie to see the light of day. How did you push yourself ahead?
  • I joke with my friends that I’m Rajkumar Hirani in Malayalam film industry. You may remember Rajkumar Hirani also faced similar issues when Sanjay Dutt was jailed. (laughs)

    But jokes apart, these were testing times. While it is true that there’s been negativity around there’s also been positivity and support for and from our Ramleela team. Besides, haven’t you heard the adage that if you fall in the beginning you can rise high in the end! Look, as Malayalis in past we have witnessed how two negatives make a positive. And I’ve kept my faith in that history.
  • You started your career in cinema as an assistant director and after Ramleela you’ll make your mark as a director in the Malayalam film industry. How has your journey been?
  • I am an ordinary man from a hamlet called Edava near Varkala. I’m a man of humble beginnings with a love for cinema. My struggles are like any other person of my background. But, yes, I’ve waited for this day for more than 6-7 years. And to wait for something you hold so dearly is heart-wrenching. So I’ve gone through all that.
  • Now, let’s talk about Ramleela. Tell us about the cinema.
  • Ramleela is an entertainer. It’s not exactly a “mass” movie. The story is logical and crisp. And yet it has adequate elements to keep all kinds of viewers entertained and engaged. This film caters to all sorts of viewers. This is not one of those films that caterers to either only youth or only family viewers. Ramleela is for everyone. That’s how we intend it to be. Everything else the viewers have to decide.
  • Is it a political film?
  • The story does not revolve around the current political scenario. But every character in the film is well defined in terms of their behavior and their politics. But my film does not cater to any specific political ideology. It will speak about the socio-politics of Kerala as a whole, that’s all.
  • Does the film have a message?
  • No, no. We’ve not purposefully intended for the film to have a message. When you watch it you will make out that we’ve been honest in our approach. We’ve not made a patronizing film with a message for the public. We want you to watch it and feel the cinema. If you watch and then find a message, so be it.
  • Being a debutant, having the backing of a producer like Tomichan Mulakuppadam must have been a huge responsibility for you?
  • More than a responsibility he was one of my biggest strengths. His backing and support was a huge relief amidst all the controversies. Not once did he blame us for the delay or turn negative, instead he was immensely supportive through the journey. If not for him I would probably have been disillusioned.
  • How confident are you about the film?
  • (laughs) My team and I have worked really hard in making an honest film. Cinema is about the totality. The story, direction, music, cinematography, production, and of course acting have to go in absolute tandem to make a good cinema. In Ramleela we’ve been seen a good team work. Performance wise there are some brilliant performances by many actors. Siddique ikka, Mukesh ettan, Kalabhavan Shajon, Lena, Renji Panicker and Radhikaa Sarathkumar, to name a few, have given some brilliant performances. We’re very happy and content about it. We believe that the viewers will see our honesty reflected in the film.
  • What do you have to say to those who want to boycott your film?
  • I have nothing to say to them except to please watch the movie before boycotting.
  • With just hours left before the release…
  • (interrupts) Ok, now don’t scare me….
  • What are your plans on the release day?
  • I want to watch the movie at Saritha theatre in Ernakulam with the viewers. Will they clap or will they hate, I don’t know… I hope they love it!
  • Well, all the best for your new beginning!
  • Let’s hope for a suprabhatham- a new beginning to a new dawn…

When the day breaks Malayalam film industry will have a new director on the block. The viewers will seal the fate of Ramleela and with it the fate of this new director. Tired from negativity surrounding his debut movie Arun Gopy is not a defeated man. By the end of the conversation, though famished in voice, Arun Gopy seemed quite untiring in spirit.

CONVERSATION byDeepa Antony

28 Sep 2017 | 02:05 AM