'Malayalam film industry is the most happening industry'
Ace cinematographer Sameer Thahir has made a rather spectacular switch to direction.
His directorial debut, Chappa Kurishu, did make some waves but the release of his latest film, Neelakahsham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi (Blue Sky, Green Waters, Red Earth) has catapulted him into a different league. In between, he directed one of the five short films in the 5 Sundarikal omnibus.
In Neelakahsham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, Dulquer Salmaan and Sunny Wayne go on a bike trip from Kozhikode to Nagaland.
In an exclusive interview, Sameer Thahir tells Vijay G about the making of this road movie. Excerpts:
What is the response to Neelakahsham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi?
It’s really good. I was receiving positive response from only some sections of people after Chappa Kurishu. But people from all walks of life and of all ages are calling me after this movie.
Image: Dulquer Salmaan and Sunny Wayne in Neelakahsham
'Making the movie was an enjoyable process'
Was it difficult to make the movie?
More than the strain involved, it was an enjoyable process. The entire cast and crew took it all in the right spirit and we had real fun making the film.
We went for a trip by road before the actual shooting started to decide where we would set up the base camps from where we worked eventually. This really helped. We explored new places. We hired equipment from the local suppliers.
Are Malayali viewers in a mood to welcome these unconventional films?
I feel that the Malayalam industry is the most happening industry. There is a great atmosphere here considering the positive attitude of the viewers.
Image: Sameer Thahir on the sets of Neelakasham
'Neelakasham is a cinematographer's delight'
How did you decide on Dhritiman Chatterjee for the role of a veteran communist leader?
I don’t know if I can say so, but we wanted someone like Thilakan ‘chettan’ for the role.
I have seen Dhritiman Chatterjee’s films, especially Kahaani. We had sent the storyline via email and he agreed. It was a delight to work with him.
After two films as a director, are you a cinematographer or a director first?
(Smiles) I am confused at this point of time. It was the search for a story that had tremendous opportunity for a cinematographer that eventually resulted in me making Chappa Kurishu.
Frankly, I am envious of Girish Gangadharan, the cinematographer of Neelakahsham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi as I feel that this film is a cinematographer’s delight.
Image: Movie poster of Neelaksham