Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 20 April 2024 8.10 AM IST

Director Arun Raj elated over receiving Mammootty's phone call; Megastar gives nod to 'Ayyankali' movie


KOCHI: It was during his college days that Arun Raj fell for the illusionary world of cinema. It was no easy start for the naive college graduate as he had to toil hard to complete some short films to add to his repertoire. Short films came his way often and Arun never left any chance to work on a script that interested him. The continuous work led to him gaining confidence and then the ultimate dream struck him with ferocity; directing a movie with megastar Mammootty as the protagonist.

Arun Raj’s years of laborious work both in cinema and life had now paid its dividend as he received a call from Mammootty’s office which confirmed that the actor would happily be part of Arun Raj’s dream project 'Kathiravan', which will bring to screen the life of prominent social reformer Ayyankali.

Arun Raj’s entry to mainstream cinema from short films was never a cakewalk. With much hope, Arun directed a movie titled “Kurishu’ which was released just 25 days back, but the director was dejected by the censor board intrusion, resulting in many scenes getting dropped. Albeit cutting major scenes from the movie, the censor board was hesitant to take away the A certificate labelled on the film. The title of the movie was also changed from ‘Kurishu’ to ‘Edwinte Namam’. With the title change, the distributors backed away from the project and Arun fell into serious debt. It was at this juncture that a ray of hope came into Arun's life through a phone call from actor Mammootty’s office.

Swapnasanchari and Memory of Murder are two prominent short films made by Arun. Memory of Murder won many awards including Mumbai IIFF. Arun, a native of Haripad, Alappuzha gave away a decent-paying job in pursuit of cinema and had to wander across various states in the country looking for his chance in cinema. Through these toiling times, Arun had to encounter starvation and a deep financial crisis.

Arun rejected a job at Visakhapatnam Coast Guard in the hope of getting into cinema. In the meanwhile, his father fell ill and was bedridden while his mother had to do extra work as a labourer to take care of the family.

“I travelled from Kerala to Andhra by train in the hope of getting into cinema. A sweat-stained shirt was my sole companion throughout. I even worked as a labourer in a hotel in Palarivattom to earn a living”, Arun says.

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