I dont want instant success
Smitha Sadanandan, The Hindu, 28th June 2002
As the Himalayan snow melts, deep down in the Kumaon Valley,
the myth of Bokshu spins a web of intrigue and black magic.
Shyamaprasad has just returned from the Himalayas, where
he had been shooting "Bokshu, the Myth", his
film in English. The director is busy wrapping up the
international project, which will be released across four
The foreigners in the cast comprise British actors Steven
Berkoff and David Millbern, and American stage actress
Heather Prete. The Indian cast includes Nandana Sen, daughter
of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Irfan Khan, Harish Patel
and Vineeth. "The film is based on "Mriganthak",
a Hindi novel by Gangaprasad Vimal, which has been translated
into Malayalam, "Vyaghram", Paul Zachariah suggested
it could be adapted to the screen.
The novel is in the format of a journal and we have modified
it into a more dramatic form."
The script for the film has been written by Shyamaprasad,
along with Sashi Warrier and Richard Stanley, Jaled, a
village in the Himalayas, is where the myth of Bokshu
is unveiled. The story centers on two American anthropologists
who come in search of their lost professor and the adventures
they encounter. Torben Forseberg cranks the camera, while
Thota Tharani is the production designer. Kumaon, popularized
by Jim Corbett's stories on man eater tigers and leopards,
lends to the film an air of mystery. The natives of Kumaon
valley believe in black magic and this superstition has
been woven into the theme of the film.
Why did he take a break after "Agnisakshi?"
"I was making serials and decided to continue until
I found a script that will fascinate me with its potential
for visual exploration."
Ask him about his dream project and he says, "I had
planned a film on O V Vijayan's novel, "Khazakinte
Ithihasam". But since I was committed to this project,
I decided to wait until next year to begin work. I had
spent two years in a lifetime is pretty long. I had to
ensure that the film was good."
It would be hypocritical, he says, were he to make films
that he did not believe in. "I know there will always
be people who can appreciate an honest work, even if the
film does not fit into the commercial mould." Ask
him about his favourite directors and films, and he replies,
"This can be a pretty long list. My Indian favourite
is Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy. Then there's Benegal. Among
Hollywood film makers, there's Woody Allen, Coppolla…
I like the 'dark humor' in western films."
Any regrets in life? "Yes. An Old Bhagavathar from
Kalpathy would come to teach me and my brother music.
But I would speak off to play cricket. I wish I had learnt
classical music. I missed out on a very good opportunity."
So what does Shyamaprasad do to fulfill this earnest desire?
"I'm composing music these days using computer software.
I'm learning more about music, because it is one of the
most important components in a film."
Was film making a dream he cherished? "Not exactly.
Back in school and in college, I used to write plays.
As I wasn't keen on stage performances, I would be entrusted
with the costumes and stage settings."
He graduated in theatre arts and did his masters in media
production at the University of Hull, U. K. Back in Kerala,
he served with Doordarshan and graduated to making serials
and then films.
He says he is in search of a "resonance" in
films that will reach out to a "discerning audience"
across the globe. "I do not believe in making films
for the sake of money or instant success."