Veteran Indrans plays the protagonist in the Malayalam family drama that premieres on Amazon Prime on August 19
Home is where the heart is. That is exactly what Rojin Thomas wants to convey through his upcoming Malayalam film, #Home. The film, starring veteran Indrans in the lead, drops on Amazon Prime on August 19.
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“#Home is a happy film. The story has been with me for the last seven years. In fact, I had finalised the title before the story was ready. Home is a word that all of us use almost every day. It is one of the commonly-used hashtags in social media as well. I am confident that viewers will be able to relate to the characters and the subject.”
The film revolves around the life of Oliver Twist, played by Indrans (Rojin does not divulge why he is called so), and his family comprising his wife Kuttyamma (Manju Pillai) and their two sons, Antony (Sreenath Bhasi) and Charles (Naslen K Gafoor). Veteran theatreperson Kainakari Thankaraj plays Oliver’s father, Appachan.
Old vs new
“The affable Oliver, who is in his 60s, is technology-challenged. But he tries to catch up with his tech-savvy sons who are glued to social media platforms. While Antony is a filmmaker who has tasted success with his debut film itself, Charles, an engineering dropout, is a vlogger. The narrative moves through their conflicts and the chaos that ensues,” says Rojin.
Rojin Thomas (left) with Indrans during the shoot of ‘#Home’ | Photo Credit: Special arrangement
The film was shot with a limited crew for over a month last year. “There were just under 50 members on the set and initially it was difficult for all of us,” says Rojin.
He makes special note of State Award-winning Indrans. “Indrans chettan lived as the character. The veteran even told us that he has had the most stressful 42 days as an actor in his four-decade-old career (laughs),” Rojin says.
#Home is Rojin’s third film. The 28-year-old is among those directors in the Malayalam industry who made it to feature films via short films. He directed nine shorts before making his feature film debut with Philips and the Monkey Pen (2013), a children’s film, which he wrote and co-directed with Shanil Muhammed. Winner of three Kerala State film awards, the movie was about a 10-year-old and his magical pen. His second work, Manju Warrier-starrer Jo and the Boy (2015), which was about an animator, had won two State awards.
However, unlike these films that had elements of magic and fantasy written all over them, #Home has a realistic theme, Rojin says.
“The spark for writing my first film came from my school days. The experiences I had while making it led to my second project. I was planning to direct a thriller for the same production house [Friday Film House] but had to drop it. Then we planned to work on a sequel for Philips and the Monkey Pen. But the story of #Home kept haunting me,” Rojin explains.
He gave a one-line narrative to producer Vijay Babu five years ago and the latter was enthused about making it then itself. “However, the script took time to shape up. Social media platforms keep going through changes and my story had to incorporate those developments. As they say, there is a right time for everything. For me, directing #Home was nothing short of creating fantasy,” he avers.
He prefers to look at the positives of the film getting an OTT premiere. “It is a film for families and I couldn’t have asked for a better time to release it than Onam, a festival usually meant for big-budget, star-driven films. I am excited to have got that privilege this time,” he says.
Indrans and Sreenath Bhasi in a scene from ‘#Home’ | Photo Credit: Special arrangement
Reach of OTT
He adds that even though the film was conceptualised as a theatre release, the growth of OTT in the last two years has taken all filmmakers by surprise. “Small-budget films always struggle to get enough screens or good theatres, especially when pitted against big movies. But, on a streaming platform, I can release my film in many countries simultaneously.”
Also in the cast are director Johny Antony, Maniyanpillai Raju, Deepa Thomas, KPAC Lalitha, and Vijay Babu, among others. Rojin has teamed up with his regulars – music composer Rahul Subrahmanian and cinematographer is Neil D’Cunha, in #Home as well.
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