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Exclusive! Vishnu G Raghav: I am sure that both family and youth audience will connect with Vaashi’s content

The movie, starring Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh, is set to hit theatres on June 17

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 02.50 AM, Jun 16, 2022

Exclusive! Vishnu G Raghav: I am sure that both family and youth audience will connect with Vaashi’s content
Vishnu G Raghav and (right) Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh in a still from Vaashi

Actor-turned-director Vishnu G Raghav sounds confident when he talks about his debut directorial Vaashi, which is set to hit theatres on June 17. A key reason is that he has been working on the script for several years and now with the movie, starring Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh in the lead, ready for release, he does sound calm about what he has achieved amid the challenges that the pandemic has posed.

Vishnu, in fact, first pitched the script to Tovino in 2017, but the actor wasn’t keen on taking it up then. Ask him what changed after that and the director tells OTTplay, “The interval of the initial draft gets over in 20 minutes of this film; that much has changed. This is totally different script.”

What made him stick with the movie despite it being rejected by the actor he had in mind? “Actually, I was set to do another movie in 2020 because I was done with writing Vaashi in 2017,” he says. “The film was supposed to be shot in Dubai but because of the pandemic, it was pushed to 2023. In that gap, I reworked Vaashi and pitched it to Keerthy; that’s how it was greenlit.”

Did Keerthy signing the movie also get Revathy Kalamandir, which is owned by the actress’ father and producer G Suresh Kumar, to back the movie? “Apart from the movie set in Dubai, I had also pitched another script to producer Sandip Senan. He was ready to do that. By then both Keerthy and Tovino had agreed to do Vaashi, so I asked him if he was interested in bankrolling this instead. He’s the one who put me in touch with Suresh ettan.”

On whether the film is a courtroom drama, Vishnu says, “The story gets to the court only because the protagonists are both lawyers. Vaashi is actually about them. The case is just a part of the film, which is a family drama.”

The director also says that he believes “Vaashi is a movie that will connect with the family audience as well as the youth”. “I am sure that everyone will relate to its content. There are movies that only a certain section of the audience will like, but Vaashi doesn’t fall into the category,” says Vishnu, who had previously directed a few short films, music videos and advertisements.

Directing a feature film for the first time, was there a certain level of pressure that came with it? “Actually, no, because I had clarity on what I had to do. I had finished the storyboard of the film and I knew how the story had to be told. The only challenge was that there was only a limited number of days to shoot Vaashi. The incessant rains truncated those further and so we were a bit worried if we could finish the movie in time.”

Working with actors such as Tovino and Keerthy, who are friends, also made it easier for him, says Vishnu. “The way you interact with friends is different from how you are with others. For instance, in this film, there were script reading sessions daily at the end of the day. If big stars were involved, they wouldn’t have bothered to attend. But both of them were co-operative because they were also interested in the sessions, and would come early and work on certain scenes. I am glad they gave me that space.”

The movie began shooting late last year and was completed when the second wave of COVID-19 and the Omicron threat was live. This too did pose some challenges. “The entire crew was affected by viral fever during the shoot. There was a day when I fainted, went to the hospital, was put on IV, came back and shot the film, fainted again, was taken to hospital for IV and then returned to shoot,” he says. “Every day someone used to faint. When all of us recovered from that, COVID-19 struck. But somehow, we were able to complete the movie.”