The director also spoke to TNM about his upcoming release 'Thambi' with Karthi and Jyotika in the lead.

George Kutty may have been caught in future too Jeethu Joseph on Drishyam crimes
Flix Interview Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 18:58

There is a certain charm to Jeethu Joseph’s unaltered Ernakulam dialect. None of the polishing of words one might expect of a man who has been moving around a lot, making films in three different languages. Malayalam, of course, is where he started and would like to keep making movies in the industry. But then circumstances and an awful lot of success out of his 2013 film Drishyam pulled him to other shores. Ready now with his first original Tamil film Thambi (Papanasam was a remake of Drishyam), starring Jyotika and Karthi, Jeethu sounds content with the choices he has made so far. 

Only perhaps a little mindful of the ‘brand’ he has unintentionally earned as a maker of ‘thriller movies’.

“I don’t know how it came. I made a movie like Mummy & Me (about a mother-daughter relationship) and Memories is the only film I’d call a complete thriller. Drishyam is more a family thriller, but because it became so popular, I got branded as a maker of thrillers. My movie after that – Oozham – was an action film, but that too got tagged as a thriller,” Jeethu says.

Thambi is a family thriller with mass appeal

Thambi is again a family drama with elements of a thriller but it is not of the same genre as Drishyam. “In Drishyam, there were few commercial aspects such as humour or fights. When I met Karthi, he said that he was not interested in too serious a film. He was looking for more of an entertainer. And I too wanted a film that has mass appeal. But the story has a realistic touch to it. I’d say it is what you call good cinema,” the director says.

The film is about a brother and sister played by Karthi and Jyotika respectively, who are brother-in-law and sister-in-law in real life. This helped the film, Jeethu says. “Especially for emotional scenes, they didn’t even need glycerin. The feeling was very real.”

The story of the film is what attracted Jeethu to the project most importantly. He can’t reveal which aspect, before the release. Then of course, there is the fact that two established actors are playing the lead. “They are both very professional. Jyotika is so experienced. And Karthi is so disciplined. They respect the project, the technicians.”


Karthi and Jeethu

‘Done with remakes’

Jeethu also did his first Hindi film recently, The Body, starring Emraan Hashmi, a remake of the 2012 Spanish film by the same name. “As a director, I don’t feel any difference working in the different industries except that the faces change and the languages change. They are more disciplined in a way, in that they’d work only for eight hours a day. The shooting is more relaxed. But when it comes to Tamil, there is hardly any difference from the Malayalam industry. I have felt that Malayalis can follow Tamil quite easily, but it doesn’t work the other way around.”

But he is done doing remakes, Jeethu says. “It was fine doing Papanasam, because it was my film that I remade. And I could work with a great actor like Kamal Haasan. But remakes are repetitions, and I am not able to enjoy the process. I want to enjoy the films I make.”

On Drishyam allegedly inspiring crimes

His next film in Malayalam is again with Mohanlal, called Ram. It is a big budget action film, with actor Trisha too in the cast. Jeethu and Mohanlal are coming together six years after Drishyam, a film that’s still in the news for not-so-good reasons. More than one crime committed in the state had its accused tell the police that they got the idea from Drishyam, a movie in which a family tries to cover up an unintentional murder with cleverly plotted alibis.

“I only feel pity for such stupid acts. Film is make-believe, you can’t buy what you see in a movie. And did they think that George Kutty (the hero in the film, played by Mohanlal) got away with it? The case is not over, maybe he will get caught or punished later. But we – as viewers – gave it closure. In these (real life) crimes, it is not the whole idea they took from Drishyam but the act of George Kutty throwing the victim’s phone to a moving truck so the police would be misled when they try to trace the location. I got that idea from another newspaper report I'd read a long time ago,” Jeethu says.

Filmmakers don’t try to promote crime, they just make films on what they see happening in the society, he says. “There could be positive and negative happenings. I remember a retired police official telling me that in the film, the family should not have tried to hide the murder they did for self defence. They should have reported it to the police. I said that’s why I made the Inspector General the mother of the victim. How can the family go and confess the crime of killing her son? No mother would forgive that.”

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