Malavalam Cinema Bevond Cliché
PROVOKE Lifestyle|January 2022
DIRECTOR AND ACTOR BASIL JOSEPH, THE MAN WHO MADE HIS DREAMS COME TRUE AND PAVED HIS OWN PATH IN THE MALAYALAM FILM INDUSTRY IS ALL SET TO UNLEASH HIS INGENUITY THROUGH HIS LATEST MOVIE MINNAL MURALI. MALAYALAM FILMS ARE WELL-KNOWN FOR THEIR REALISTIC APPROACH WHEN IT COMES TO STORIES, ACTORS, ACTING METHODS, SCREENPLAY, MAKEUP AND CLOTHING. FILM CRITICS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO LOVE MOLLYWOOD SCRIPTS. SO WHEN THERE'S A MAN WHO GOES OUT OF THE BOX AND TAKES MALAYALAM CINEMA TO THE NEXT LEVEL. BASIL'S NEW SUPERHERO SCRIPT IN MALAYALAM, 'MINNAL MURALI' (LIGHTNING MURALI) STARRING TOVINO THOMAS AND FEMINA GEORGE, WAS RELEASED ON NETFLIX AND HAS BEEN GETTING GREAT REVIEWS. LET'S GET TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE FILM FROM THE CREATOR BASIL JOSEPH HIMSELF.
Vinitha Venkatesha

How did an engineering student turn to be a script writer, director, and then actor?

I always had a fascination for movies from my childhood and coming from a place like Wayanad in Kerala, the film industry was too alien for us. My father is a priest and I'm from an orthodox family background. In childhood, I have discussed doing medicine or engineering, but there was no thought about entering the glamour or the film industry or anything beyond the comfort zone. I just wanted to join a good engineering college after schooling and we were just going with the flow. Once I joined IT, there was a sudden boom of short films not in Kerala but in Tamil Nadu. There was a show on Tamil TV channel called 'Naalaya Iyakunar' with people like Balaji Mohan, Karthik Subbaraj, Nalan Kumarasamy and short film directors getting into films and that kind of triggered me. I knew there was something inside me, but I had no contacts in the film industry. I got to know that people are getting opportunities through short films to prove their talents. It's a good platform for someone like me who doesn't have a film background. So we planned to do an entertaining short film which was really rare in the Malayalam industry during 2010. Because of the entertaining factor, my short film became a huge hit in Kerala and until then most short films were serious. I sent my short film to so many celebrities in Kerala through Facebook messenger but nobody answered except the actor Aju Varghese who watched my short film and liked it. He asked for my number and called me and through him, I got the opportunity to meet director Vineeth Sreenivasan and he liked my short film and that is how I started working for films.

Tell us how did Minnal Murali happen and what is the title all about?

The idea of Minnal Murali came to me from our writer Arun who I worked along with the film called Padai ootam as an actor and we were friends back then. Also, our producer Sophia was team to the idea. The idea had so many scopes but the genre of a superhero would be a little difficult, considering our Malayalam industry has some budget constraints. Making convincing superhero movie is going to be a little tougher because the action, effects everything has to compatible with the international movies these days like Marvel and comics has so many superheroes so people like it and they watch a be these movies. We can't go below the par on the technical side just because of budget constrain then we shouldn't try such a genre. Only if we want to break the benchmark beyond par with any such standard do we have to go ahead and do it which was a major challenge we faced initially. But our producer Sophia gave me the confidence to do it and told me that she will be there to support me. Also, Arun had confidence in the team so I went forward to do it. So they are the people behind Minnal Murali and that's how we started.

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