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Director Vishnu G Raghav says he wanted to keep ‘Vaashi’, starring Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh in the lead, as real as possible


Vishnu insisted that Tovino and Keerthi mustn’t prep for his or her roles as legal professionals in Vaashi, a courtroom drama

Vishnu insisted that Tovino and Keerthi mustn’t prep for his or her roles as legal professionals in Vaashi, a courtroom drama

Courtroom dramas are dime a dozen in cinema, Malayalam cinema is not any exception. Several such movies have been blockbusters in the previous. What makes debutant director Vishnu G Raghav’s movie Vaashi stand out is the refined narration and picturisation of courtroom scenes which were skillfully woven into a young relationship drama.

Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh in Vaashi, directed by Vishnu G Raghav
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Starring Tovino Thomas (as Ebin Mathew) and Keerthy Suresh (as Madhavi Mohan) in the lead, Vaashi’s USP is the absence of melodrama, pointless twists and excessive decibel speeches, a welcome aid from such movies in the previous. Based on Janiz Chacko Simon’s story, the movie options the lead as junior legal professionals jostling to make a status for themselves. The fireworks at work and residence start when the two discover themselves arguing a case towards one another.

Vishnu says a pal narrated a one-line story that caught his consideration. He mentioned it threadbare with scenarists Bobby-Sanjay and director-editor Mahesh Naryanan earlier than writing the script.

“In 2018, I had written the script of Vaashi and then took a break. I kept it aside to write another script for a film that was to have been made on a bigger canvas with locations set abroad. Its pre-production was supposed to have begun in April 2020 but then the first lockdown was announced. That forced us to postpone that film and I went back to the script of Vaashi,” says Vishnu.

Keeping it real

Having discovered it dated, he reworked it a number of instances earlier than he was glad with the screenplay. He factors out that his views had modified and society’s too. In the meantime, Vishnu spoke to a number of legal professionals to perceive their work, arguments in courtroom and how a courtroom works. “I narrated the story to them and listened while they argued both sides of the case. I have used many of their arguments and points in the film. As a result, several lawyers called me to appreciate how realistic the courtroom scenes were,” says the younger director.

 Vishnu G Raghav with Keerthy Suresh on the set of Vaashi

Vishnu G Raghav with Keerthy Suresh on the set of Vaashi
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Keerthy Suresh, a childhood pal, replied in the affirmative when she heard the story and then got here in shut pal Tovino. It is the first time Keerthy and Tovino are performing collectively and the crackling chemistry is a plus level of Vaashi.

Since the movie hinges on a delicate case relating to a breach of promise of marriage, Vishnu says he wanted to be certain that it was politically right and in tune with the instances.

“To get the dynamics correct, I sought the opinion of women, feminists, traditionalists and radicals. I read the script to them and made several corrections. It was not easy as there were diametrically opposite views that were expressed. I worked hard to get the right language and attitude. Now, if there are any shortcomings in the way the issue has been portrayed, it is because of my lack of understanding,” he asserts.

Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh in Vaashi, directed by Vishnu G Raghav

Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh in Vaashi, directed by Vishnu G Raghav
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Although Tovino and Keerthy are enjoying legal professionals for the first time in their careers, Vishnu insisted that the leads did no prep for the roles as he didn’t need them to be influenced by courtroom drama-based movies of the previous. “It is easy to be influenced by mannerisms and body language of ‘lawyer characters’ enacted by some great actors. I wanted them to be the characters. After every day’s shoot, we would have a script reading session that proved to be extremely helpful in moulding the characters and the film. The actors would come up with interesting improvisations that we could include in the film. That made a huge difference in the portrayal of their roles,” he believes.  

Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh in Vaashi, directed by Vishnu G Raghav

Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh in Vaashi, directed by Vishnu G Raghav
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Both the male and feminine leads have equal house in the movie. Suresh Kumar, who occurs to be Keerthy’s father and producer of the movie, Vanitha, Baiju, Rony David, Anu Mohan,  Nandu, Krishnan Balakrishnan, and Kottayam Ramesh play key characters in the film. Kailas Menon has scored the music for the movie that has been filmed by Roby Varghese Raj. Director-editor Mahesh Narayanan is the editor of the movie.

Having made his debut as an actor in Dulquer Salman-starrer Second Show, Vishnu has acted in a handful of movies. Asked if that have helped him as a director, he says “I was not an actor for long. But that stint helped me understand how to make an artiste comfortable on the sets and give them the space to do their best.”

Shot in and round Thiruvananthapuram, the movie was accomplished in 47 days. “The climax was shot first and both cast and crew were involved in every scene of the film as a result of the screen reading after the shoot.”

Vishnu had to take a name: make it a movie with a mass enchantment or attempt to make a film that was as shut to actuality as possible. “I have taken creative liberties in the film and there are cinematic flourishes in the narrative. But I have tried to keep it as subtle as possible.”

Vishnu has already moved on to his subsequent movie, the one which was stored apart throughout the pandemic. “The delay has necessitated rewriting the script and I am on it to begin work as soon as possible.”



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