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From Whistling Woods to 24 Hours

Last updated on: December 17, 2010 10:00 IST

From Whistling Woods to 24 Hours

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Paresh Palicha in Kochi

Aditya Sam Abraham is a young filmmaker with promise, a product of Whistling Woods (the film school run by director Subhash Ghai), Mumbai.

Aditya's first film, a Malayalam one is the action-thriller 24 Hours starring newcomer Kuldeep and Manoj K Jayan. It tells the story a rich brat Jagan who is accused of killing the younger brother of a mafia don played by Manoj K Jayan. The film is about an eventful day in the life of Jagan, where he has to fight for his own survival as well as the survival of his loved ones.

Over to Aditya.

What was the idea or inspiration behind 24 Hours?

The inspiration was the fast-paced thrillers of Hollywood and also old Hindi films. The films of the 70's had plots with twists and turns; something like Don (1978) or Kaalia (1981). I have mixed them with the sensibility of a Taken. The idea was to make an edge-of-the-seat thriller.


Image: Aditya Sam Abraham directs Manoj K Jayan in 24 Hours

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'I got a dream cast'

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How was the experience making the film?

It was a dream come true. I had a very supportive producer who believed in me and my abilities. And I am a very budget-conscious director. In the sense that I make a budget and stick to it. I am very skilled in allocating resources within limits and yet making it look chic and stylish.

What about the actors?

I got a dream cast. I had always wanted to work with Manoj K Jayan as I believe he has this incredible charisma that can work wonders if used rightly by an intelligent director. He readily agreed after seeing my diploma from the film school. It was an honour to work with veterans like Devan, Vinaya Prasad, Shammi Tilakan, Irshad, Ani Murali and Jagathi sir. They bring an immense value to the screen.


Image: A scene from 24 Hours

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'Usually in Malayalam cinema, the directors don't know how to shoot action'

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Why did you choose Kuldeep as the main protagonist?

Kuldeep was Naseeruddin Shah's most favourite student from his batch at the institute. He is a natural actor and has the amazing physicality that makes him the right choice for dynamic roles that require a lot of screen presence. He is also very dedicated and meticulous about his craft. He's so good that he can play both a tough guy and a village bumpkin with ease. He hails from Karnataka and found the Malayalam language a bit tricky. But very soon he'd mastered the dialogues. He just sort of fit into the role of Jagan.

You have choreographed the action sequenses yourself. Why?    

I love cinema and believe that a true director is someone who designs the film. Usually in Malayalam cinema, the directors don't know how to shoot action. So we often have ludicrous scenes where people start flying for no reason. I think the style of action has to be consistent with the tone of the movie. If you have a movie that proceeds realistically, then the action, however illogical, must be shot realistically.

So in 24 Hours you see the action taking place in real time and not in the tacky style usually associated with South cinema. In fact the helicopter scene in the climax has come in for a lot of appreciation.


Image: A scene from 24 Hours

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'I am in talks with prominent producers from Bollywood who were impressed with 24 Hours'

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Tell us about your days in Whistling Woods:

I love making films so, in that sense Whistling Woods was fun. I got to make a lot of films there. I even got a chance to witness some major film productions first hand. I got the highest GPA (Grade Point Average) of my batch.

What are your future projects?

The next one is going to be an action thriller but right now I have lots of projects in various stages of development including a fantasy film, the script for which is being written now. I am also in talks with prominent producers from the Hindi film industry who were impressed with 24 Hours.


Image: A scene from 24 Hours

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