Chocolates is a full - fledged entertainer - Shafi

Sep 19, 2007 NR

He's just five films old as an independent director, but he has managed to earn a reputation as one of the most popular directors in mainstream Malayalam Cinema.

Shafi, the younger brother of Rafi of the Rafi-Mecartin director duo, is now hot stuff after the success of Mayavi. He began as an independent director just a few years back with One Man Show and then gave us three successive hits - Kalyanaraman, Pulivaal Kalyanam and Thommanum Makkalum, before coming up with Mayavi, the film that catapulted him to the top ranks in Malayalam filmdom.

How this enterprising director manages to churn out hit after hit while much more experienced filmmakers are groping in the dark trying to figure out a sure-shot formula for commercial success, is any body's guess. Shafi, who is currently giving the final touches to his new film Chocolate, getting it ready for a Ramzan release, discusses Chocolate plus his way of filmmaking in this casual interview given to Unni Nair of Excerpts:

Could you tell us the secret of the commercial success your films have been enjoying, right from One Man Show to Mayavi?

It's no secret at all. First of all, let me tell you that I belong to the very same school of filmmaking represented by Siddique-Lal and Rafi-Mecartin. I have learnt from them the art of making totally unpretentious entertainers, targetting every section of the film-going public. I make films that suit the festival mood in the fullest sense. Festival time, as we all know, is a time when people set aside all their cares and worries and go with family to watch films that entertain them in the main. And that's what my films have been providing down the years - pure, wholesome entertainment. Packaging also matters a lot. I have been trying to put in all those ingredients that are needed to make my films full-fledged entertainers - songs, dances, humour, sentiments, a bit of action, drama et al. That is why my films, like the films by Siddique-Lal or by Rafi-Mecartin, are able to pull in the crowds. This exactly is my recipe for success.

Is your forthcoming film Chocolate also going to be a film of that genre?

Definitely. As I said, I believe in making films that entertain. Chocolate too definitely fits into this pattern and is being made as an entertainer. But of course there is something in it that makes it different from my earlier films.

Could you elaborate upon that?

Sure. Chocolate is my first campus film. So, since I am zooming in on a college campus for the first time, Chocolate gives me an entirely different kind of feel compared to my earlier films. The film has ingredients which haven't been there in my earlier films. It brings alive before you the spirit of the campus and the spirit of youth.

Could you tell us something about the theme of Chocolate?

Chocolate tells about the interesting happenings that take place when a young guy Shyam comes to study in an all-women's college. He happens to be the only male student in a college full of girls. It's under very strange circumstances that Shyam comes to study in the college. And the happenings that follow are rather interesting. This forms the theme of Chocolate. Prithviraj plays Shyam while Jayasurya too does a key role. Roma, Samvritha Sunil and Ramya Nambeeshan play the female lead roles.

When is the film scheduled to be released?

In October, as one of the Ramzan films.

Yet another festival movie?

Sure. Like I said before, each one of my films is a festival movie, suiting the festival mood in all respects. Chocolate too is a festival movie of sorts.

You seem to be optimistic about the box office response to the film?

One hundred percent. That is what every filmmaker ought to be before any film is released. I am deeply indebted to Senan sir (Rajasenan), Siddique-Lal, Rafi-Mecartin, from whom I learnt the basics of filmmaking. I believe in the style of filmmaking I have learnt from them and that's what makes me so confident. And I place utmost trust in the film-loving public of Kerala who have made each of my films a success.

Well, here's wishing you all the best!


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