Dr Sajish, Dr Rajesh and Dr Manoj run a production house called Doctors’ Dilemma, and their first film ‘Udalazham’ is about a tribal trans woman.

From left: Dr Sajith, Dr Rajesh and Dr Manoj
Flix Mollywood Sunday, December 01, 2019 - 18:50

If you start counting from Pre Degree, theirs is a thirty-year-old friendship. Doctors now, and practicing in different corners of Kerala, Dr Sajish M, Dr Rajesh Kumar and Dr Manoj KT had been friends for three decades when they decided to produce a film called Udalazham. Unnikrishnan Avala, the director of the film, had come to consult Dr Manoj once when he spoke about the project. The three doctors, passionate about movies, jumped right in when they heard the subject – the story of a tribal trans woman. The film releases on December 6.

“We formed a production house some years ago. It’s called Doctors’ Dilemma, named so by actor-director Joy Mathew. He has been close to Manoj and Rajesh from the days he was active in theatre, this was even before he directed Shutter. It is an apt name in many ways. A doctor’s life is a dilemma, socially and professionally – you are trusted with the lives of so many. And when a doctor gets sick, it is another dilemma,” says Dr Sajish, a cardiologist who practices in a private hospital in Ernakulam.

Coincidentally, it is his wife, popular playback singer Sithara Krishnakumar, who is one of the music composers of Udalazham. “It is after I joined the film that I came to know she was doing the music (with Mithun Jayaraj),” Sajish says.

The film brings back to the screen Mani, who was once a state award winning child actor – he won it for his performance in Mohanlal’s Photographer. In Udalazham, Mani plays the tribal trans woman while actor Remya plays his wife. Unnikrishnan has recounted in an earlier interview to TNM how he came upon the subject, loosely based on a tribal trans woman he had once known, in his stint as a schoolteacher working in Nilambur. The subject is one that the three doctors had been waiting for, years after starting their production house. “It is about pain, it is a very interesting film,” Sajish says.

A still from Udalazham

Sajish studied at the Kozhikode Medical College, a couple of years after his friends Manoj and Rajesh. In college, all three of them were involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities – politics, cultural work, music and cinema. “We had once started a music company called Doctors’ Melody Bytes, Dr Manoj and me,” says Dr Rajesh, a general practitioner running a clinic in Vythiri, Wayanad. The idea was to promote independent musicians. They produced an album by musician Shahbaz Aman.

“It is in our production that he originally composed ‘Mazha Kondu Mathram’ and ‘Ee Chillayil’, the songs which later appeared in the movie Spirit," adds Dr Rajesh. He was also executive producer for Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s first feature film Oraalpokkam, Don Palathara’s critically acclaimed film Shavam and so on.

“The movies we saw at one time – KG George’s, Padmarajan’s, Bharathan’s – all had aesthetic value and people went to watch them too. There have been such movies at all times. In the new generation too, there are such talented filmmakers. We had so much passion for such movies, that we formed a production house,” says Dr Manoj, who runs a clinic called For The People in a tribal area.

Their passion is in filmmaking and in the future, they hope they can produce a film written by one of them.