This is so surreal and writing about it is the only way I can probably come to terms with the stark reality of cinema. Watching your mother’s life unfold right in front of your eyes is an experience i will take to my grave.
It isn’t easy, despite all the fictional elements and cinematic freedom, it brought tears to my eyes.
Grown up men are not supposed to cry. This is against the law of the universe but that is exactly what happened over the weekend. I almost chided Manju Warrier the same night asking her why she made my cry. Irrespective of what people ( trolls included) think and say, Kamal has done a wonderful job with it.
This isn’t an easy film to make. Ask me about it!
I know the kind of detail and effort that went into it. More so, because of her larger than life image, adulation and love of her readers.
And to add to that, the innumerable free loading writers and critics who talked about her, to gain a few media mentions that may redeem their own professional failures. Too bad my friends and critics…
The film is now made and made well. Period.
Say what you must and regale in creating fresh controversies. If there is anyone who knew her well, it was her immediate family. Nothing else matters. Nothing.
I remember the time I first spoke with Kamal on this project right upto the final lap. Strangely, I always felt I was very integral to this and did my bit in talking about it and offering whatever little help I could.
For me, this went beyond the scope of just being a member of the family giving inputs.
I had stuck my neck out on it and as the Custodian of Her Rights ( The Estate Of Kamala Das ) on behalf of my brothers, I had just taken the whole world on my shoulder.
Yes, my brothers have always backed me on my decisions, be it on her work, or otherwise, but this just assumed greater significance, given all the controversies that she courted, right through her life and beyond.
Kamal was known to be a great film maker, but this was different. Very different. This required a great deal of sensitivity. She was a humungous personality that people revered and you cant afford to mess with that.
And here I was, the face of the family giving clearances for the film. The never ending calls from worried relatives and friends with unsolicited advise, suggestions and caution happened with religious precision, and to each I had the same stock answer.
“Not to worry, am handling it all.
Sorry, I cant accede to your request to have all the so called controversies and her bold character not depicted. It would then be no movie on Kamala Das I said, each time.
Now, this my readers, is a part I love doing. I have been a spokesperson and often at the receiving end of several questions, be it from the media (an industry I myself belong to) or the literary fraternity. Often uncomfortable, but I guess this is one genetic trait that got passed on. What people think of me is of least interest. Amen.
So here we were, my wife Devi and I, at this theater in Pune, sitting alongside several other Malayalis who were waiting for the drama to unfold. Albeit the wonderfully misspelt credits, the titles were lovely, what with the beautiful pictures of Amma down the ages. That, in itself, was enough to get us all weepy.
#Aami, Kamala was coming alive all over again and right in front of our eyes and this was just so overwhelming. Manju has managed to get her fine nuances perfect and this was truly moving. Madhu’s cinematography was a visual treat with each frame akin to a picture postcard.
This was the first Kamal movie I have seen and am glad this film was made by him. I am no critic to comment on film-making but yes, this is one film that is worth seeing.
And contrary to what my readers may think, I have no business interest in its success.
It has captured her innocence, her ‘in your face’ candid style and her sensitivity exceedingly well. Manju has certainly put in mammoth effort to get her mannerisms and facial expressions right and certainly deserves much applause. My father played by Murali brought tears to my eyes, especially in some frames, when he seemed so much like him.
Serene, unmoved and rock solid and so proud of #Aami.
If there is one man who understood her completely and loved her like a child, it was my father. And this was what kept her soaring. She always believed her Dassettan was with her, irrespective of what she said or wrote.
Their love was much like a father-daughter relationship. Unquestionable, yet often understated.
True love, I realise, needs no demonstration. It goes beyond the realm of film making and audience appreciation. Yet, Kamal scored here too.
Today, as a proud son of this literary legend, I tip my hat to you Team #Aami !
Jd also consults in Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing, both of which are integral to his brand interventions.