At a press conference held in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, Malayalam movie director VA Shrikumar Menon told reporters that he could start shooting for the movie Randamoozham, based on MT Vasudevanâs 1984 novel by the same name, in 6 months time. He said that commencing the project was possible as the storyboard and research for the film was ready. Dismissing that there were any serious difference with MT Vasudevan Nair, Shrikumar also said that he will soon iron out all the issues with the author. These comments made it seem as though the shooting and production of the movie by VA Shrikumar would go ahead with no issues.
This, however is not the case according to MT's daughter Aswathy Nair. "In the wake of the many comments and statements being circulated in the media regarding the movie âRandamoozham,â I would like to demystify certain aspects of the discussions. As such the subject matter is under subjudice and anybody making any comment on the facts about the movie may do so at their own risk as it might turn out to be contempt of court. âRandamoozhamâ is a masterpiece work of my father Shri MT Vasudevan Nair and no one can make any claims on its rights as on date," she wrote.
Aswathy says that once her father gets the script back, he will decide as to who will do the movie. "This project is after all my father's dream, which we hope to make a reality in the best way possible. May God be with us," she wrote.
Four years ago, in July 2014, MT had handed over the screenplay of Randamoozham to VA Shrikumar, for a contract period of three years. Given that the three year period and an extra year of grace period had elapsed, MT Vasudevan Nair wanted the script back. Though MT Vasudevan Nair and his daughter did not want to make further comments, a source close to the family told TNM that they decided to go to the Kozhikode Municipal Court in October 2018 as many of their queries to Shrikumar went unanswered.
"Though Shrikumar had claimed that it would be India's costliest movie that will be bankrolled by industrialist and UAE-based businessman B R Shetty, MT Vasudevan Nair asked him thrice if there was any formal contract with the producer and never got a reply. He waited for four years, but there was no sign of the movie even starting. Moreover, he was not ready to give back the script. This is why he went to court," the source said.
MT Vasudevan Nair told the Municipal Court that he wanted his story back and was willing to pay the advance back to VA Shrikumar. Though the Municipal Court gave an injunction in favour of MT Vasudevan Nair, VA Shrikumar appealed in the District Court of Kozhikode. "He has asked the court permission for arbitration. MT and his family does not want that. What is the need for arbitration?" the source said.
The source added that the family was upset over VA Shrikumar's assertions that he was working on the movie. "How could he pretend like everything was back to normal when the issue is in court? People were wondering if the movie was still on. This is why Aswathy posted on Facebook," the source said.
Speaking to TNM in October, MT had said, that he is backing out from the project because âafter four years, the film has not even begun shooting, and the contract for the screenplay was only for three years.â
The 1984 novel Randamoozham tells the story of the Mahabharata epic through the eyes of Bheema. It won the Vayalar Award for the best literary work in Malayalam in 1985, and the Muttathu Varkey Award in 1994.