Malayalam director Ratheen rose to fame with her debut film Puzhu, a grim psychological drama starring Mammootty. In this year’s Malayalam Cinema Adda, the filmmaker opens up about the success of Puzhu, and the kind of scripts that came her way following its release.
The film came to be celebrated shortly after its release, with Ratheena even being referred to as “Puzhu” by admirers of the film. “It’s a movie that was released on OTT. People from several groups and ages have watched and discussed it. I feel very happy about that. It was said to have brought the most subscribers to Sony (SonyLIV) at the time. We even had a celebration. As a director, I’m still being referred to everywhere as “Puzhu” (worm). I look at that as success,” she smiles.
But the scripts coming her way today do follow a pattern, she observes. “They follow a pattern because I’m a woman. Some of them call and say “I have a female subject with me”. Even writers who’ve worked on the biggest action hits come to me with notions like that,” says Ratheena, who doesn’t believe in the term “female directors”.
The stories that are offered to her are extremely dark, perhaps on the lines of Puzhu. “If not, they are female-oriented subjects that are even darker. I wonder why I’m only getting such scripts. I want to do a mass film, a comedy or even action films. In Puzhu, I even killed a couple of people…yet why am I not getting a mass script? I’ve even done some action scenes.” This is when actor and co-panelist Vineeth Sreenivasan interjects with a suggestion: “Maybe you should call your next film Mazhu (axe)...for the mass movie,” he says with a laugh.
Young writers, however, seem to surprise her with versatile scripts, Ratheena reveals. “I’ve been getting some different films from younger writers who are 23 or 24. They come to me with wonderful love stories or romances of characters in their forties. I told them, “I can make college romances, you know? I understand young love too.” But I’m surprised with the freshness of these scripts even though I did not expect it from them. Now I’m getting some love stories. Hope I get some school romances too. An action script or a comedy hasn’t reached me yet.”