Rohith VS, director of Tovino Thomas-starrer Kala, talks about the main idea behind the film, how he wrote a screenplay that had a lot of action and what the explanation for a book on Shiva that’s shown in the film is, in this interview with Baradwaj Rangan. Edited Excerpts…
How did you write the screenplay for Kala? In the first half, there are character interactions. But most of the second half is about action. How do you write a screenplay for action?
We were very particular that Kala should not have typical stunt choreography. It’s difficult to predict the meter of the film: how realistic it should be and how to strike the right balance. For me, this movie is a psychological thriller. I wanted the ideologies of these two to run inside our head; it creates an internal conflict. What we did was to divide the fight sequences into four major ones. We created a scoreboard but reading that scoreboard itself is very unpredictable. It was very difficult to identify who was going to win each round.
We knew the properties that we would be have both in the house and the farm behind it. We knew we had dangerous properties in the spot. We then wrote it down and executed it.
Now, this a very nerdy question: there’s a point where the camera is specifically focusing on a book about Shiva? What does that mean?
I don’t know whether I should be saying this (laughs). But if it’s going to help some aspirants reading this, let it help. In Hindu mythology, the clash between ego and destruction is Shiva vs Brahma kind of thing. That was a very base story happening here: Kaala Bhairava is the version of Shiva and Shaji’s character was portraying ego.
You mentioned in the dramatic interval block that the movie is based on a true incident. Can you tell us about that?
I have seen many true incidents where human beings fought for their ego. One particular incident which triggered me a lot was the elephant incident that happened last year. Only human beings cultivate and eat their own food. But animals depend on nature: dogs don’t create a poultry for themselves, only human beings do that. In the elephant incident, it was manipulated by keeping explosives inside a pineapple. That particular incident triggered me to do Kala. It was the prime idea for the film.
The first shot shows two men in an action sequence where Sumesh Moor throws a stone and breaks the bike mirror and a chase happens. What made you say that you don’t want a dramatic dialogue sequence and you wanted an action sequence straightaway?
To be honest, I don’t remember. Last lockdown, I was sitting at my home and was rehearsing the sequence. There was my bike standing in front of my house and I played Moor’s character and Shaji. I was looking for the possibilities of execution. I was just focusing on how convincingly we could do that sequence.