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Kathanar director Rojin Thomas: Anushka Shetty said she will sign the film only if it continues to haunt her

The shoot of the first two instalments of Rojin Thomas’ supernatural fantasy thriller Kathanar – The Wild Sorcerer will complete by January 2024

Kathanar director Rojin Thomas: Anushka Shetty said she will sign the film only if it continues to haunt her
Rojin Thomas, Anuskha Shetty and Jayasurya in a still from Kathanar - The Wild Sorcerer
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 06.55 AM, Sep 01, 2023

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The first glimpse from director Rojin Thomas’ supernatural fantasy thriller Kathanar – The Wild Sorcerer, which was released on its lead actor Jayasurya’s birthday on Thursday, has already got the whole Malayalam film industry buzzing. That it comes close on the heels of his previous movie #Home, winning a National Film Award, doubles Rojin’s joy and also the expectations.

But the filmmaker, in an exclusive chat with OTTplay, exudes the clarity in vision and confidence on what he’s trying to pull off; a 3D fantasy movie made using virtual production techniques of motion capture and CGI – a feat that has seldom been accomplished in Malayalam, much less in a full-length movie.


‘Kathanar is a Malayalam film with international standards’

“We have talent in Kerala who have worked in these technologies before and so, we want to showcase to the world a Malayalam film made by Malayalis,” says Rojin, who had started work on the movie almost two years ago. “Often for such movies, we have tech nicians from outside, who also charge us exorbitantly for the equipment and expertise. We could compensate for all of that, mainly because of the support of our producer Gokulam Gopalan and executive producer Krishnamoorthy sir.”

While the pre-production work started almost two years ago, Rojin and the film’s scriptwriter P Ramanand have been discussing Kathanar for over six years. In fact, the movie was set to go on floors even before #Home, he tells us. “After the pandemic, we panicked because we weren’t sure if such a massive project would be viable. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I did #Home,” Rojin says.

Just like Rojin, the team too has immense confidence in the movie. His frequent collaborators – composer Rahul Subramaniam and cinematographer Neil D’Cunha – are part of this journey too. “We have a DI studio in Kochi, where all of us keep spending most of our time discussing movies and how to make our film on par with the international standards. For the past one and a half years, Kathanar’s VFX supervisor Vishnuraj and virtual production head Senthil Nathan too have been with us, trying to ensure that this movie sets a benchmark,” he explains.

Rojin Thomas and Jayasurya with the film's crew
Rojin Thomas and Jayasurya with the film's crew

‘Anushka Shetty is super selective with her films’

Apart from the crew and the producer, the film’s lead actor Jayasurya, who plays the titular character of an excommunicated priest, too have kept aside over a year for Kathanar – physically transforming for his character and also devoting his time entirely for Rojin’s magnum opus.

Jayasurya in Kathanar-The Wild Sorcerer
Jayasurya in Kathanar-The Wild Sorcerer

The video that the team released on Thursday also confirmed Baahubali star Anushka Shetty’s Malayalam debut with Kathanar. On roping her for the movie, Rojin says, “If you look at her filmography after Baahubali, you would know that she has been super selective about her films. Even when we went to narrate the story to her, she was listening to almost 4-5 stories per day. The strength of the content is paramount to her.”

Anushka Shetty/Instagram
Anushka Shetty/Instagram

Rojin says that they had approached her first almost a year ago. “Instead of just hearing her part, she took two days to listen to the entire story. She told us that if the story will continue to haunt her for a few days, she will agree to be part of it,” says Rojin, adding that the actress will begin shooting her portions in the film’s second schedule that is set to begin next month.

A still from Kathanar: The Wild Sorcerer
A still from Kathanar: The Wild Sorcerer

‘Kathanar’s two instalments are being shot simultaneously’

Anushka’s presence in the movie will also give it the ‘pan-Indian appeal’ required for such a massive film. That said, the supernatural fantasy genre, by itself, caters to a much larger section of the audience.

The first two instalments of Kathanar, which is being pitched as a franchise, are now being shot simultaneously, Rojin informs us. “It was not made into two parts because we couldn’t conclude the story. But the content is that expansive and it could have even more chapters,” he says. “Currently, the first part will have a story that will conclude in the film itself, and the second movie will be a prequel to the incidents that had happened.”

A still from Kathanar - The Wild Sorcerer
A still from Kathanar - The Wild Sorcerer

Kathanar has more than 100 days of shoot still pending. “We are currently on a schedule break to dismantle the previous sets and erect a new one at its place. The plan is to conclude the principal photography by January 2024,” says the director.