Fancy waking up one morning and finding yourself in another person’s body? Adding to the shock is the realisation that your gender too has changed. How do you deal with such a situation?
Meet Alvi, a petty thief, and Janaki, an IT professional, who find their bodies swapped one day in this weekend’s Malayalam release, Ithihasa.
Debut director Binu S. Kalady and his producer friend Rajesh Augustine are laughing all the way to the bank, thanks to Ithihasa’s wonderful box office response in Kerala over the past 50 days.
Speaking over the phone from Kerala, Kalady said: “This thread has been explored earlier in Hollywood, as in It’s a Boy Girl Thing. Another film featuring a story on body swapping was Freaky Friday. We used this thread to develop into a story suited for the Indian audience.”
“But it was not easy convincing producers,” added Kalady, a wedding photographer who also has a couple of ad films to his credit.
Although many found the storyline preposterous, Augustine decided to produce it. When funds ran short during the final stages of shooting, Kalady’s friends pitched in.
Another hurdle came with the casting. Which hero would want to take on a role where he would be wearing women’s clothes?
For Shine Tom Chacko, who has worked in 15 films, the character of Alvi was his first as a lead role. “As an actor, I am keen on experimenting with different characters,” said Chacko from Thrissur. “Ithihasa offered me a dual role where I would be playing a man’s and a woman’s character.”
What helped Chacko in getting into the skin of a woman was his background in dance: Chacko has learnt Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattam, both Indian dance forms, in his childhood days.
Anushree plays Janaki, while Balu Verghese plays Alvi’s friend.
“Alvi and Janaki’s bodies get swapped after they wear a pair of finger rings that carry a magical spell,” said Kalady.
Talks are on with Tamil producers for a remake.