Fahadh Faasil delivered more than expected as Ranga in Aavesham: Director Jithu Madhavan

Fahadh Faasil delivered more than expected as Ranga in Aavesham: Director Jithu Madhavan

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His debut movie was one of the biggest Malayalam hits of 2023 and he has followed it up with another banger in 2024. Director Jithu Madhavan’s latest film, Aavesham starring three newcomers – Midhun, Hipster and Roshan Shanavas – and Malayalam star Fahadh Faasil has turned superhit with the audience raving about the performances and songs. Aavesham, produced by Anwar Rasheed and Fahadh Faasil, has grossed around 35 crore at the box office since its release on April 11 and is going strong. In this exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Jithu Madhavan opens up about Aavesham, Fahadh Faasil, his penchant for new faces and more.

Fahaadh Faasil in a still from Aavesham.
Fahaadh Faasil in a still from Aavesham.

Fahadh Faasil was brilliant as Ranga but how did you visualize him in this role?

When I was thinking about casting options for this eccentric character, the first option was Fahadh. He is obviously talented but like Ranga, he has a lot of energy. We felt that he could deliver and he delivered a lot more than we expected.

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In Aavesham too, like Romancham, you used a lot of new faces. Like the college kids Midhun, Hipster and Roshan Shanavas.

I don’t know, I feel that it will look fresh – like their expressions are new and we can’t judge them or figure out what they’ll do next. In the minds of the audience, if a known name is cast for a role, then they have preconceived notions as to what he/she will do and to what extent they can deliver. There are set expectations. For instance, if I cast a big actor in a small role, then they know what the character would be like or he’ll appear in the first half, then come back in the second half and something surprising will happen. That expectation would be there. When it is new faces, they cannot expect anything, like they don’t know what these characters are going to do. So, for a lead character specifically, I wanted that fresh face. I also wanted the entire movie to look fresh. I am narrating a commercial formula story so I have to make sure the movie looks fresh. If I am doing a new type of movie, it should look new, something fresh should be there. That is the motive behind casting new faces in my films.

The music by Sushin Shyam in Aavesham was youthful, hip and trendy. Were you particular about this?

I like working with Sushin; I worked with him in Romancham also. We understand each other very well. When we had our initial discussions, I was keen that we should have music for youngsters. Ultimately, we are showing Ranga, Amban and all the others in the perspective of the college kids. So, the music should be from their perspective too. There are only certain ways we can make the movie look fresh and music is one of them. And Sushil made it possible; he wrote new kinds of songs.

Did Fahadh say yes immediately to Ranga?

I narrated this story first to producer Anwar Rasheed in November 2022 and then to Fahadh in December, for which I prepared a base script in two weeks. We expected him to give a date in the second half of 2023 but he wanted to start shooting in February itself. I was a little doubtful because this was a bigger movie than my debut film Romancham and I thought I may need some more preparation time. But it did not seem that way after he gave us the dates. We went to Bengaluru, found locations and directly started production.

Romancham was based in Bengaluru and Aavesham too. Do you have a strong connect because you lived there?

I lived in Bengaluru for 12 years and I know the city well. I was there from the age of 14 till 26 and all my teenage memories revolve around the city. So, I am more connected to Bengaluru than Kerala. Moreover, these stories won’t work if they are set in Kerala. The boys’ need to be out of their comfort zones in a new place where they don’t know too many people. These boys are from Kerala and have gone to a new city to work or study. It’s only in this setting you can connect with what they are going through as well. Aavesham is a fictional story but I have added some small instances from my life in the film.

But how did you get the idea for Aavesham?

When I was living in Bengaluru, I had come across someone like Ranga (a small, local goon) in Bengaluru. I based Ranga’s character – very eccentric, sudden mood changes, etc – on him but there was a lot of improvisation done by me of course. Ranga is highly fictionalised in that sense. And incidentally, Fahadh also knew about this person.

Did you face any challenges at all during the shoot?

We shot for around 134 days and there were some difficult scenes to shoot where we had hundreds of people on set. But I don’t see these as difficulties but as exciting challenges and really enjoy it. It’s like I have a new toy and I get to play with it. (Laughs) DOP Sameer Thahir and I feel the same way – like we have to shoot something that looks impossible and we pull it off. We really enjoy the process.

Your debut film, Romacham, was a superhit and now Aavesham too. Do you feel any pressure?

I don’t think I take on that pressure and I don’t change anything because of the success I’ve had either. I don’t have that result-oriented pressure – that my movie has to be a hit. Even when Romancham was releasing, I didn’t have any pressure as to what the outcome would be. I don’t know if this is good or bad but I don’t have that feeling. The producer would ask if I am tense and I was wondering if I should act scared! (Laughs) I’m more concerned about any technical errors and quality of theatre screens and so on. I never fear the film’s outcome at the box office. I am making films that I would enjoy watching.

Both your films are high on humour – one a horror comedy and the other an action comedy. Is comedy always going to be part of your films?

Comedy comes in automatically when I write screenplays and I think I will let the flow continue. When there is some subject which doesn’t demand comedy or there is no space for it, then it may change. (16:10) Till then I will just keep going.

What’s your next one going to be?

With my previous films, I never spoke about them till the day the movie poster was released. When I’m talking about my film, I need to have something concrete in hand, till then I prefer not to comment. (Smiles)

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