Veteran director P Vasu, who has worked in all four South Indian languages, is remembered best for ‘Apthamitra’ (Kannada) that also became a hit when he remade it in Tamil as ‘Chandramukhi.’ Vasu returns with ‘Ayushman Bhava’, another psychological thriller.
The story is centred around Gopalakrishnan — the patriarch of a large family — and his grand-daughter Lakshmi, who is mentally unstable.
“Music as a therapy has not been explored in cinema. I wanted to build a story around that,” said Vasu, who took five years to write the script.
This is his first film with Anant Nag who plays the role of Gopalakrishnan, while Rachita Ram plays Lakshmi. Shiva Rajkumar plays Gopalakrishnan’s attendant who comes to live in the mansion.
“Shiva’s character bonds with Lakshmi through music which is her passion and he draws her out of her present state,” he said.
“Every heroine aspires to do a role like that of Soundarya in ‘Apthamithra’ when they work with me,” added Vasu, referring to the Indian National Award winning actress who died in an airplane crash in April 2004, at the peak of her career.
“Initially Rachita was worried when I narrated the story. This role carries a huge responsibility. It is different from portraying a possessed person, where you behave in a particular manner only during a certain time. However, for a mentally affected person, she had to be in that role all the time. Rachita called the producer that night and told him about her apprehensions and anxiety. She even wanted to do a workshop before filming began,” Vasu said.
Putting her at ease, Vasu assured her that he was confident in her ability and asked her to come to the sets without any preparation. She is reaping the benefits of his guidance as the actress’ performance has been much appreciated since the release of ‘Ayushman Bhava’ in India.
Shot in Coorg, Hyderabad and Athirapally (Kerala), ‘Ayushman Bhava’ boasts of interesting stunt scenes — watch out for a train scene with Shiva Rajkumar.
The supporting cast includes Tamil actors Prabhu and Suhasini Maniratnam. Deepak Somashekara, UAE resident for 14 years, makes his on-screen debut with ‘Ayushman Bhava’ where he plays a forest officer. This software professional was driven by his passion for cinema to take on the distribution of Kannada films in the UAE along with friends.
‘Ayushman Bhava’ is produced by BS Dwarikish, Vasu’s second film after ‘Apthamitra.’
Vasu has plans to remake it in Tamil and Telugu. The film releases in the UAE on November 21.