When Blessey gave you the script for Thanmatra, could you visualise a person like Ramesan Nair?
I was first told the story -- Orma -- written by the late Padmarajan. It was about a man who loses his memory, and I found the idea interesting. It was only much later that Blessey thought of extending the story to that of a man suffering from Alzheimer's.
I have to tell you what attracted me to the story. I didn't know that there are about 30-40 million people in India suffering from the disease. In the case of Kerala, it is going to be an alarming figure. A geriatrics study says that, 20 years from now, Kerala will have the maximum number of old people in India. A large chunk of Kerala's population stays abroad, leaving old parents at home. I happened to read an article about a village in Kottarakara, where every single house has a person working in the US!
I have had the good fortune of shooting films in some houses at least 10-15 times at various stages of my career. I saw children grow up, marry, leave their parents to grow old and alone in huge houses. I now notice that many of them suffer from various types of insecurity and fear. This is what attracted me to the script. I even offered to produce the film.
Were you that attracted by the story?
Yes, not only because it appealed to me but also because I felt not many producers would be interested in such a project. I felt they might look at this as financially unviable. Fortunately, one of the oldest banners, Century films, came forward to produce it. A unique element about the film is that the script is being sold in all theatres in a book format.
Unfortunately, a scene just before the interval created some controversy in Kerala. There is a lovemaking scene shot very aesthetically. It features a dark shot of me in the nude. As the husband and wife make love, he is suddenly distracted by a lizard on the wall. He gets up, tries to shoo it away with a peacock feather and soon forgets how to make love. The shot ends with an alarmed look on his wife's face. He has reached a stage where he forgets even man's basic instincts.
Was the scene deleted due to pressure?
Possibly. The scene created a huge uproar, with people saying the film was not for a family audience, etc. Finally, it was deleted.