June 24, 2012 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
Raconteur Anjali Menon is super excited, her Malayalam films Manjadikuru and Usthad Hotel are releasing on the 22nd and 23rd June successively in Kerala; The former film had already won her an award for the best film at the International Film Festival in Kerala and also one as a best debutant Indian director. She has written and directed Manjadikuru and written for Usthad Hotel.
Ask her what makes Malayalam cinema so interesting and stimulating she says, "Of late we have new cinema emerging, early we had wonderful set of movies which came out in the 80s and 90s that were inspiring and that is where Malayalam cinema derived its reputation from but after that we did go into a different trend and now is the revival of individual voices once again. It's an exciting time right now."
The writer - director is one of the very few women working in movies. What can a woman do to a script? She replies, "You have to watch the film, both my films reflect our society and the values we've given it. Every character matters, I can't say just because I am a woman that kind of sensitivity is important, even if it is a male writer that can happen, what counts is sensitivity. Ideas are always around me, I'm not a person with abstract ideas and look at cinema as an art and artists point of view predominate.
I want to make films that artists connect, when I watch a film I want to laugh, cry and engage and I think I would like my audience to do the same. With films, you enter a world where your emotional state can be completely altered from reality. I love the fact that these 24 frames can move me and create that reaction in my brain. Sitting in the dark and watching the film and allowing it to bring a change within me, that's a fascinating experience."
Anjali is amiable and full of life and she adds the exuberance to the story telling as well. Did she always want to be a director? "I knew I would always tell stories may be not as a filmmaker. I see a story in anything in a headline or an obituary. My son is nine months, waiting for him to understand what I'm saying. Balancing home, career is easy as there is lot of family support."
How does she manage to have that smile throughout? "These are the little things that dreams are made of but all the tough part is wondering how to make it happen. I'm open to different cinema. I learnt to read and write Malayalam just purely for these scripts."