Amal Neerad: I believe in show business
Cinematographer turned director Amal Neerad is known for making films that are visually spectacular.
The three films that he has made (Big B, Sagar Alias Jacky Reloaded and Anwar) may not have made the kind of money that he would have liked, but all three were appreciated for their technical brilliance.
Is he changing his ways with Bachelor Party, which is releasing on June 15? Here is Amal Neerad, unplugged.
What is Bachelor Party all about?
It could be called an action comedy, but it is tough to include it in a particular genre.
It is a travelogue that involves the journey of some friends but I won't call it a road movie either.
The main story spans three days, though there are some flashbacks as well. Some old friendships are rekindled during the journey and some new friendships evolve.
All I can say is that there is a certain amount of madness in this film.
Who are the main characters in the film?
Asif Ali is Tomy, Indrajith is Geevar, Rahman's character is called Benny, Kalabhavan Mani plays Ayyappan, Vinayakan plays Fakir and Nithya Menen is Neethu. They are old friends coming together for a journey.
Prithviraj is the surprise package of this film. His character is bigger than a cameo and he plays an important part at a crucial turning point in the story.
Remya Nambeeshan's character comes at another special occasion in the story.
Image: Amal Neerad with the cast and crew of Bachelor Party
'I am making the kind of films that I have been fascinated by'
How did you convince all these stars to line up in this multi-starrer?
(Smiles) They agreed to be part of the film may be due to their friendship with me.
I feel that they are happy with the way their characters have been created.
Most of these actors have a market of their own and are usually seen doing their own films but they all worked as a team here.
It is often said that Amal Neerad is keen to present his heroes as really handsome.
My wish is that not just the heroes, but the heroines too must look beautiful in my frames.
How do you respond to the charge that the focus often tends to move away from the storyline to the visuals in your movies?
I am making the kind of films that I have been fascinated by. I feel viewers who come to watch my films too expect to see such things in my films.
Let's see, if I live long enough, there can be changes in my style of filmmaking, after many years (laughs).
Frankly, the story rarely excites me. Like, we go to watch Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, not because we don't know the storyline, right?
Image: A scene from Bachelor Party
'I have not done cinematography for a while'
How tough is it to be the producer of a film that you are directing and also to wield the camera?
I believe in show business and that is the most important reason for producing the film.
Film production is often used as a space to account for the profits and losses from certain other businesses.
I have not done cinematography for a while and I wanted to do it. I am enjoying all these responsibilities.
Your last film, Anwar, got a tremendous response initially. But controversies regarding the production cost took the focus away from the film's merits.
The controversies that happened after Anwar did take away attention from the film.
Of course, I am responsible for some of the decisions that I took then and my production house is a step in rectifying some of those mistakes.
Image: A scene from Bachelor Party