Malayalam actress turned filmmaker Geetu Mohandas’s second feature film Moothon examines gender issues and the mystery of sexual orientation with a flair frankness and passion not seen in any Indian film in recent or remote times.
The fearless filmmaker is now getting ready to shoot her third film oddly entitled Bastards.
“It’s a film on gangsterism seen completely from the female gaze. Just as Moothon looked at the subject of sexual orientation from the female viewpoint,” says Geetu whose debut film Liars Dice (featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Gitanjali Thapa) is an undiscovered gem.
Moothon released last year displayed the outstanding qualities of an instant masterpiece. Geetu says the film is inspired by real life. “Moothon is a tribute to my best friend Michael whom I knew in Toronto. He struggled with his sexual-gender identity all his life and finally killed himself.”
In Moothon the mute Aamir played with casual brilliance by Roshan Matthew kills himself when forced to marry against his natural sexual orientation.
Malayalam superstar Nivin Pauly who plays the lead part of a conflicted closeted goon didn’t think twice before saying yes to a part that is at once complex and tricky. So pitch-perfect is Nivin infusing the rage and romance elements in character that it’s hard to imagine he was not the first and final choice for the part.
Says Geetu, “Nivin was not my first choice. Rather he was the sounding board for my thoughts on the film. He’s my friend. I’d discuss the plot characters and actors with him. It was only later that I thought of him in the role of Akbar. Once he was on board he surrendered completely to my vision, not for a minute fearful of what playing a gay man would do to his image. He was so confident of my presence that he was ready to take any risk and fall sure that I’d catch him before he hit the ground.”
The two main actors Roshan Matthews and Nivin Pauly had no qualms about playing lovers. “There was the initial awkwardness between them, though. When they first met they hugged like two heterosexual men, cautiously discreetly. I told them that won’t do. I needed them to hug like two men in love. They obliged and embraced one another for a good 12-13 seconds. After that we were okay,” recalls Geetu.
But Nivin’s fans, admits Geetu Mohandas, were not pleased. “When they saw him playing a gay character they were shocked, confused. It was something most unexpected, coming from a superstar in Kerala.”
So are Nivin and Roshan a part of her next film? “Let’s see if they fit into the mould of Bastards in my film,” she ends mischievously.