Prakasham Parathunna Pennkutty has young actor Meenakshi Anoop, who is the anchor of a TV kids singing reality show, and newcomer Alvin. Explaining that the film has several dimensions, Jayaraj says, “The story stems from a period of depression that young Pappettan was going through, and he spots a young girl at a tram stop every day in Chennai. He says that everyone has a girl that comes into our lives and at a crossroads. There is a philosophical bent to the story, and it conveys a message of hope.”
Though the original story is set in the 50s, Jayaraj has not pinned the film to a period. “One part of the film is set in Kannur and an important moment comes when he spots a little girl in the theatre. It becomes a huge commitment in these times to recreate the period, with the audience watching a film and listening to music from then. And I first read the story when I was working as an assistant director in the late 1980s and I find it is still interesting, relevant and a timeless story,” he says, adding that he finally discussed making the movies with T Padmanabhan on the sidelines of the 2020 IFFK in Kannur.
The story of Makhan Singhinte Marannam takes place in Kashmir and is the intensely emotional story of a bus driver, explains the director. “I remember waiting to read Pappettan’s writing in the annual Onam souvenir, which used to carry great literary short stories. Pappettan’s writing has a certain flow and you can’t quite imagine how it will end, but it always has an interesting climax.
This story too, is based on an incident that he experienced and needs a powerful actor. We are looking to rope in Amitabh Bachchan and if that doesn’t work, then Naseeruddin Shah,” says Jayaraj.