Jude Anthany Joseph also dished out the reason behind editing Nivin Pauly's cameo in the film.
Last Updated: 07.24 AM, May 13, 2023
Actor-filmmaker Jude Anthany Joseph has created waves with his latest release, 2018. Based on true events in the 2018 Kerala Floods, the disaster film boasts an ensemble cast including Kunchacko Boban, Tovino Thomas, Asif Ali, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aparna Balamurali, Kalaiyarasan, Narain, Lal, Indrans, Aju Varghese, Tanvi Ram, Sshivada, and Gauthami Nair. Upon its release, 2018 has been well-appreciated for its screenplay, visuals, and also the performances of the actors.
OTTplay recently got a chance to exclusively interact with Jude at the Mumbai premiere of 2018, where the director spoke about how he is still speechless with the response the film has received. Moreover, the filmmaker-actor also revealed the reason why a few actors, including Nivin Pauly, didn't make the final cut of the film.
Edited excerpts below...
Why didn't such a film go for a pan-Indian release, especially considering the star power and genre of the movie?
We planned the same, but we couldn't finish the work on time. The release was planned for April 21, when the graphics portions were not completed and the dubbing had started for the other language, but I couldn't do it in Malayalam; it's like the work only finished by May 1, so I couldn't do it in other languages; otherwise, we would have at least one in all languages. The release date is very difficult to change once we announce it in Kerala. So that's the reason we couldn't do it altogether. But we will release it in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.
Why do you think the story of the Kerala floods, in light of movies that are trying to divide people, is important to be told onscreen?
It was in the newspapers. The whole story and the whole script were written by the common man in Kerala during this flood. So I was listening to the news, the TV news on YouTube, and my home was affected by floods, so I couldn't read the newspapers during that. After the flood, I had seen many newspapers and many YouTube videos about the people of Kerala and how they had made history. So I just had to write down major incidents from the papers, and it was a very easy task to write the script.
What about the characters that didn't make the cut—even a mass cameo of Nivin Pauly was included?
Actually, I was very cinematic in my initial drafts, and this is my 12th version of the script. I then thought I should be more realistic and not focus on people, heroism, or anything like that. Because that character was not there in the film, it was like two or three scenes, and suddenly one guy comes with the heroic image, which might affect the script. So I thought I should stick to the basics, like the realistic version of the film. That's why I avoided so many scenes in the film.
Do you think 2018 has been a breath of fresh air for the Malayalam film industry, given that only a few films became hits this year?
I am really shocked to see the response because I'm getting so many calls and the theatres are very packed with all the people, like families and even old people, who are not interested in coming to the theatres because it's very difficult during this traffic block and we have to park over there. But they are coming to the theatres with their families, and we are very shocked, and to be frank, I'm speechless.
Is the success of 2018 also a validation of what you set out to make, despite receiving less support from a lot of people?
I do believe in hard work. I do believe there is a lot of power in this world. If we try for one thing and keep trying for it, that power will be with us. If you believe that you can do it, you must be doing it because we will get some energy from everywhere. My whole team was supporting me. The only reason I was saying that this would happen was because we could make it, so they believed in me. It's a very simple thing, and we like to believe in ourselves.