The Bard of Avon continues to inspire writers and filmmakers.
Shakespeare’s eternal love story ‘Romeo and Juliet’ provided the spark for Rajeev Ravi’s debut film ‘Annayum Rasoolum’.
For one whose portfolio reads several critically acclaimed films like ‘Dev D’ and ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’, cinematographer-turned-filmmaker Ravi clearly has no airs. When I sent him a text message, his reply was prompt, stating that I could call him anytime, a luxury that does not often come the way of a journalist. And we get chatting over the phone.
“The story has been inspired from Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,” said the physics graduate, who listened to his heart when he joined the Film & Television Institute, Pune for a course in cinematography.
“Rasool, a 28-year-old Muslim taxi driver from Mattancheri, is in love with Anna, a 26-year-old Christian girl from Vypin Island [Kochi], who works as a sales girl in a garment shop,” said Ravi, who entered Bollywood with ‘Chandni Bar’. His most recent venture was Anurag Kashyap’s much-acclaimed ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’.
Contemporary love story
“It is a contemporary love story based in Kerala and my interpretation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Fahad Fazil is a talented actor. I am lucky to have him playing Rasool.”
“Andrea Jeremiah as Anna has been wonderful,” he added. Jeremiah has also rendered the song, ‘Kando, Kando’.
The love story is presented as a narration by Ashley, Anna’s neighbour, played by Sunny Wayne. Directors Ashiq Abu, Ranjith, P. Balachandran and Joy Mathews also play significant roles in this film.
While the script is written by Ravi, the screenplay is by Santosh Echikkaanam and the movie has been produced by K. Mohanan and Vinod Vijayan under their banner ‘d Cutz Film Company’. Music is scored by Tamil music director K. Cinematography is by Madhu Neelankantan.
So, how was it to step from behind the camera to calling the shots?
Change of role
Ravi said, “As a cinematographer, I was in charge of only one aspect of filmmaking, but as a director, I had to shoulder the entire responsibility. It has been an interesting experience.”
Ask him about Anurag Kashyap and pat comes the answer, “We share a good rapport. Working with him is exciting and a challenge. It is not a job at all.” Ravi will be working with Kashyap on his next project ‘Bombay Velvet’.
‘Annayum Rasoolum’ grossed over Rs8 million (Dh536,314) within the first three days of its release and is running to packed houses, according to the film’s producer, Vijayan.