Nirmal Sahadev on making Ranam with Prithviraj: 'It could be Malayalam cinema’s biggest crossover film'

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Sep 05, 2018 14:01:54 IST

The Malayalam film industry, which had come to a standstill after the raging floods in Kerala, is finally limping backing to normalcy as it awaits its first two major releases – Prithviraj’s Ranam and Tovino Thomas’s Theevandi - slated to hit the screens this week.

In this exclusive chat with Firstpost, debutant director Nirmal Sahadev talks about making Ranam, why it could be Malayalam cinema’s biggest crossover film and the experience of getting to work with Prithviraj in his maiden film.

Nirmal’s journey with Malayalam filmdom began as an associate director on Prithvi’s Ivide (2015), which also featured Nivin Pauly as one of the leads. Interestingly, Nirmal has eventually gone on to work with both the stars. After proving his mettle as a screenwriter of Nivin’s Hey Jude, which released earlier this year and went on to be commercially successful, he’s making his directorial debut with Ranam.

 Nirmal Sahadev on making Ranam with Prithviraj: It could be Malayalam cinema’s biggest crossover film

The poster of Ranam. Image from Twitter.

Nirmal admits he gets asked a lot about how he managed to work with two of Malayalam industry’s biggest stars so early on in his career. “In the Malayalam industry, these are exciting times to be a filmmaker. Audiences have created a space where they’re willing to embrace a Pulimurugan and a Hey Jude. I’ve just been lucky that I’ve got to work stars like Nivin and Prithviraj so early in my career. Ivide, in a way, helped in developing the initial bond and connection,” Nirmal tells Firstpost.

Talking more about how Ranam materialised, he reveals, “When Prithviraj and I started talking, he liked what I narrated to him as an idea. I had a couple of scripts but this was the one he really liked. I spent nearly three years on developing the script and when I pitched the idea earlier this year, Prithvi immediately gave his consent.”

The film, set in the mean streets of Detroit, Michigan, in the United States, is a crime drama featuring Prithviraj as a mechanic who hopes for a second chance from life. “The basic premise is inspired by VVT (Valvettithurai), a Sri Lankan Tamil gang that once ruled the streets of Toronto. But this story is about how people, especially those who come from outside, survive in Detroit. It’s a crime drama and all the characters are neither good nor bad. It’s a serious gangster film and talks about how second chances in life can be very costly. The treatment is very international, devoid of any songs and dances," he adds.

On choosing Detroit as the location, Nirmal says it’s a city that has lost its glory. “It’s like the Kolkata of India. It’s a city that’s way past its prime and has lost all its glory. There’s some connection between the city and the characters in the film.”

Originally planned as an independent project, Nirmal says the film’s canvas grew bigger when Prithviraj came on board. “The project has gone through several phases and along the way, Prithvi has been its biggest supporter. He being part of the project makes it the biggest crossover Malayalam film in history and that’s something we’re very proud about,” says Nirmal, adding that the film’s action will be one of the major highlights. “The treatment is very raw. The action is driven by emotions and the need for it. You’ll find a lot of hand-to-hand combat and we’ve presented everything very stylishly. Prithviraj is the perfect fit for this space, and I’m sure audiences will love seeing him in this avatar.”

Ranam, produced by Anand Payannur and Lawson Biju, also stars Rahman, Isha Talwar, Ashwin Kumar and Nandhu.

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Updated Date: Sep 05, 2018 14:01:54 IST