Ratheena, who made her directorial debut with Puzhu starring Mammootty and Parvathy Thiruvothu, talks to Vishal Menon about making a film with Mammootty and how she grew up watching his films.
Edited excerpts below:
You were a short story writer even before you got into movies right? I've heard that a lot of the characters in your stories were modelled around the face and the appearance of Mammootty. Is that true?
Yes. If the character is male and around Mammukka's age then it definitely looks like him in my mind when I write. I think the reason for this is MT Vasudevan Nair sir. When I was in school, I used to write and draw a lot. I got a prize for a short story I wrote and I got to meet MT sir. He used to talk to me and encourage me to write a lot. I used to ask him why he kept casting Mammukka in all his scripts. I think that's what influenced me. Even otherwise, I was a huge Mammootty fan. I feel that's why I was able to break his regular pattern and see him in a film like Puzhu. I've seen Mammukka's in all kinds of characters anyway.
Did you grow up a Mammukka fangirl?
Of course! There were four or five movie theatres around the house I grew up in and that's the time when Mammukka's posters were posted all around. But when his films like Soorya Manasam or Mrugaya were released, my older brother would tease me by saying that's what Mammukka looked like actually. He kept taunting me and said that all his good looks were just camera tricks! I would cry for hours when they said this (laughs).
How did you get the belief that you would one day make a film with such a huge star?
There are many reasons for that. I think Mammukka is the easiest for directors to approach with a movie idea. That's why he has so many debut directors working with him. If you have a story to narrate to him, it's not impossible for it to happen. There are no blocking systems in place to not reach him. I think that was somewhere in my head.
But even subconsciously, it was always about making a film with him. Whatever I would do, eventually, it would come back to making a film with him. I think my complete conviction that this would happen someday has brought me this far. Everything in my life is a result of wanting something truly with my heart and then working extra hard to reach there. I have done everything one can do on the sets, and I knew that I would sit on the director's chair one day.