Romancham director Jithu Madhavan talks about response from the audience as well as the real-life counterparts of the superhit horror-comedy
Last Updated: 06.45 AM, Feb 17, 2023
Debutant director Jithu Madhavan is probably on cloud nine, based on how his movie has been received by the audience. The horror-comedy, however, was fraught with risk – it had a bunch of newcomers in pivotal roles, dealt with a genre that Malayalam cinema seems to have ignored the past few years and was based on incidents that happened in the filmmaker’s life.
Currently, the film has already won over the audience and is on its way to gross Rs 30 crore from worldwide gross. But the journey wasn’t always smooth, Jithu says, in an exclusive chat with OTTplay about the challenges, the audience’s feedback and also the responses from the real-life counterparts of the characters in Romancham. Excerpts:
Did you expect this kind of response from the audience?
I don’t know but it’s definitely the kind of response that we wished for.
Also read: Romancham review: Soubin Shahir’s horror-comedy about troubles springing from a Ouija board has plenty of laughs
The film had a lot of risk factors. So, its success must have boosted your confidence as a filmmaker?
The confidence hit rock-bottom when the film’s release was postponed last year. Before our initial release date in 2022, we were confident about the movie as we had a preview and we were delighted about its response. But the period after we had pushed the release date, we were all a bit demoralised and we even started panicking because we didn’t know how people would receive the film. You can never predict how the audience would react to a movie.
I watched the first show with my crew, so I wasn’t sure about the response of the rest of the audience. It wasn’t until I got in for the evening show that the feedback sunk in.
Even though the film was based on incidents that happened in your life, it was relatable to the majority of the audience – especially the life of bachelors in Bengaluru. How has the audience feedback been in that regard?
I think why people related to this film is that I didn’t live in the Bengaluru that we show in our movies, a city filled with flowers and greenery. I was stuck in a city that was filled with dirt and waste; I had to struggle financially. I believe that’s what a lot of Malayalis would have experienced too in Bengaluru. That’s why I think people relate to this movie. It’s not the Bengaluru life that has been shown in a lot of movies. And it was deliberate. We decided that we didn’t want to show the beautiful parts of the city and wanted the audience to only see the places that people who struggle live in.
Are you still in touch with everyone of your roommates that we see in the film?
Of course. I have always been in touch with them; they even came to watch the movie in theatres. They are happy about the film because we didn’t humiliate them (laughs). They were a bit tense because they didn’t know what we were showing on screen.
The performances of all characters in the movie, including the ones played by newcomers Siju Sunny, Afzal PH, Abin Bino and Jagadeesh Kumar, have already been loved and lauded by the audience. There couldn’t have been a better start for newcomers in the industry.
They are all brilliant artistes and that’s why we picked them for the respective roles. No matter what we did, if there wasn’t that kind of input from their side, it wouldn’t have been convincing. As artistes, they were sensible with their performances, and ensured that they got that ‘meter’ right for what’s required in such a movie.