Maestro Mammootty’s latest offering, ‘Bramayugam’, has clinched the limelight at the box office on a global scale, and director Rahul Sadasivan is basking in the glory of success. Crafted entirely in a nostalgic black and white palette, the Malayalam horror thriller has garnered acclaims as a pioneering cinematic venture. Set against the backdrop of 17th-century Malabar, ‘Bramayugam’ unfolds within the eerie walls of an ancient, decaying mana (mansion), which shelters Koduman Potty (Mammootty) and his cook (Sidharth Bharathan). The storyline thickens as Thevan (Arjun Ashokan), a fugitive from the Panan community, seeks sanctuary in the mana, unaware of the mysterious fate that awaits him.

Rahul Sadasivan, not a novice to the genre with his past works like the sci-fi ‘Red Rain’ (2013) and the spine-chilling ‘Bhoothakalam’ (2022), steps up the fear factor in ‘Bramayugam’. Weaving together horror and folklore with a flair for dramatic storytelling, Rahul’s narrative is not just a brush with the supernatural but also a poignant commentary on prevalent social issues, like the insatiable greed and the rigidity of caste discrimination.

The story of ‘Bramayugam’ had been a seed in Rahul’s imagination even before his venture into ‘Bhoothakalam’. He reveals, “The image of those rural landscapes and desolate ancestral houses from my childhood visits to Palakkad kept haunting my creative visions. I drew from these past vignettes to pen down ‘Bramayugam’.”

The unparalleled success of ‘Bhoothakalam’ fueled Rahul’s ambition to cast Mammootty for the pivotal role. His determination to present a period drama in black and white found Mammootty as the perfect embodiment of Koduman Potty. “After Mammootty appreciated the storyline, we went ahead with a rigorous test shoot. Several trials perfected the grading, textures, and contrasts, reinforcing my decision against adopting color,” Rahul declares, emphasizing his resolve.

Mammootty’s relentless pursuit of diverse roles has been a spectacle in his illustrious career, and his portrayal of Koduman Potty is another feather in his cap. “His contribution went beyond my expectations,” Rahul observes, talking about Mammootty’s spontaneous acts which left the crew in awe. The performances of Sidharth Bharathan and Arjun Ashokan as the primary supporting actors are equally lauded by critics and audiences.

Rahul advocates the importance of thorough pre-production planning, entailing storyboarding every scene for a coherent visualization process. The director’s strong supporting team grasped his creative vision, adding flesh and bone to the skeletal premise of ‘Bramayugam’.

The preparation for the movie was extensive. The art department, spearheaded by Jothish Shankar, meticulously crafted the ominous mana in Ottappalam, with natural vegetation cultivated for months to add authenticity. Rahul divulges, “To construct a believable world was imperative, hence every detail was worked upon to achieve an immersive effect.” The rain-swept scenes were vital, paralleling a character in the narrative itself, encapsulating the relentless dampness and confinement.

Diverse natural landscapes such as the Malayattoor forest and the Athirappilly waterfall were captured through innovative cinematography, eschewing cliched framing, endowing the film with unique visual signatures. According to Rahul, it’s the timeless charm and elegance that black-and-white imagery presents that became a shared dream between him and his director of photography, Shehnad Jalal.

Christo Xavier, the film’s music composer, crafted an arresting auditory experience, enhancing the film’s atmospheric thrill, contributing to its distinctive aura. Integral to the music department, Din Nath Puthenchery, penned down the songs, interweaving melodious harmony into the eerie narrated tapestry.

The entire project could not have taken flight without the financial scaffolding provided by Night Shift Studios, an affiliate of YNot Studios known for its affinity for horror productions. The firm commitment of producers S Sashikanth and Chakravarthy Ramachandra to Rahul’s artistic vision brought ‘Bramayugam’ to reality with a substantial budget, not even accounting for promotional expenses.

As for the future, director Rahul Sadasivan hints at a treasure trove of concepts waiting to be narrated, his jovial tone suggesting that ‘Bramayugam’ could be just the beginning of a series of cinematic horrors designed to captivate and terrify in equal measure.

By IPL Agent

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