Besides being known for directing powerhouse films such as Minnal Murali (2021), Basil Joseph is also making heads turn with his performances in films (among the latest being Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey, 2022). His latest venture, Falimy, is a dysfunctional family drama and is bankrolled by the same production team that was behind his earlier blockbusters Jan E Man (2021) and Jaya Hey. In a conversation with Vishal Menon, Basil speaks about creating humour in serious situations and working alongside veteran actors like Jagadeesh and Manju.
Directed by debutant Nithish Sahadev, Falimy deals with a dysfunctional family that is forced to embark on a trip through Rajasthan and Varanasi and their attempts at figuring out long-standing personal grudges and regrets. “We had a great time acting in this film because there is a similarity in our performance style that allows us to easily make people laugh even in serious situations. I think all actors including Jagadeesh sir and Manju ma’am had a similar task of being subtle yet breaking out of that mould in important scenes where our humorous side is supposed to be on show. For instance, in a scene where the son is shouting at his parents, a particular hand gesture or body language will be made to ensure that the reactions are in a lighter tone. There is this delicate balance in crafting such a performance but when you are acting alongside such great talent, it becomes a natural process.”
Basil is also all praises for his co-actors, especially Jagadeesh for his portrayal of a curmudgeonly father, a unique part for the actor mostly known for his comic roles. Basil says, “I was amazed at Manju ma’am and Jagadeesh sir’s commitment to the roles. We had to go through many difficult working conditions in Rajasthan and Varanasi, but they were always ready to go the extra mile.”
He adds, “The heat sometimes gets to you, but with these senior actors, you never feel that urge to complain as they are actively being part of the set and cracking jokes whenever possible. I also think Jagadeesh sir is an underrated cinephile, who is an encyclopedia on all things cinema, especially Hindi films. I am amazed at how many films he watches a day and how he keeps himself updated. It's very inspiring.” Speaking about Falimy and other films about dysfunctional families, the actor-director also recollects his favourites in Malayalam cinema. He says, “I think Akashadoothu (1993) is my favourite. I remember crying watching that film and I won't watch that film ever again. Likewise, Kireedam (1989) is a film that really gets to you. I generally don’t re-watch those films because it's so upsetting to relive the experience.”