Vineeth Sreenivasan and team are all set to win the hearts of the Malayalis audience with their latest offering, Jacobinte Swargarajyam. The movie will mark a ‘reunion’ of sorts between Vineeth Sreenivasan and Nivin Pauly who have given hits such as Malavarvadi Arts Club and Thattathin Marayathu.
Vineeth talks of his film that explores various aspects of family relationships:
What prompted you to cast Nivin Pauly as hero once again?
While working on Oru Vadakkan Selfie, I had shared the plot of this movie with Nivin over a casual conversation. I also narrated one or two scenes to him. My idea was to make a low-budget movie. I also told Nivin that the movie would be produced by my friend Noble and I had plans to play the lead role to avoid production hassles. After some months, Nivin phoned me and expressed his interest to play the lead role if I was not so keen on doing it. That’s how Nivin was chosen to play hero in Jacobinte Swargarajyam.
I had apprehensions whether it would be wise to cast Nivin as Jerry, a middle class youth, at a time when he was basking in the glory of Premam in which he essayed a vibrant character. However, the other members in our team were confident that Nivin would be able to pull off the role. Moreover, as an actor, he would make my job easier.
Why did you choose Renji Panicker to play the title role, Jacob?
The oldest male is the head of the entire household and his role in the family is very significant. The film narrates the story of Jacob’s family. The story revolves around Jacob and his four children. I could not imagine any other actor who could match the persona of Jacob. Renji uncle was cooperative and was the first to arrive on the sets every day. Though he writes bombastic dialogues, he is a lovable person with the heart of a dove.
How do you rate Aju Varghese, the assistant director?
Aju has perfectly done the job entrusted with him. He was eager to learn the technical aspects of moviemaking. While filming Jacobinte Swargarajyam, he has not slept for more than three hours a day. Lots of Malayalees used to come to watch shooting at locations in Sharjah where a chunk of the shoot happened. It was an arduous task for assistant directors to get the crowd away from the frame. It was fun to watch the crowd forcing Aju into taking selfies whenever he approached them with a request to move away. His children have also acted in this movie. The two kids whom Nivin is seen carrying in the trailer are Aju’s children.
The movie was shot in and around Dubai. What was the reason?
It is based on real events that happened in the life of one of my friends. His family is settled in Dubai. I chose Dubai as the main location in a bid to do justice to the story.
Why did you opt for a debutante heroine?
I was in search for a face best suited for the character. Finally, I zeroed in on Bangalore-based Reeba John to play Chippy, who is humble, simple and god-fearing despite being born and brought up in Dubai.
You make movies with more or less the same crew. What is the reason?
It is not deliberate. In fact, I wish to work with each and every actor in our industry. But, when the script gets finalised, I end up casting the same people. In future, you will definitely see me doing movies with other actors. However, I admit that it is always comfortable to work with your friends.
Tell us more about Jacobinte Swargarajyam
It is my first family oriented movie. Families like Jacob’s can be found in our neighbourhoods. Jacobinte Swargarajyam is a joy ride into this world of Jacob and his four children. It has everything in it, a lot for the family, to watch during summer vacation.
Heard the team had a blast during shoot with your families in Dubai
The filming was originally scheduled between November and December. We took the families along with us with an idea to celebrate the New Year in Dubai if the shoot was completed as per the schedule. It was a rare chance and we enjoyed every bit of it.
I have not planned anything yet.
Nivin Pauly and Renji Panicker-starrer "Jacobinte Swargarajyam" (JSR), shot completely in the UAE, is one of the most anticipated Malayalam flicks of the year. The Vineeth Sreenivasan directorial, which tells the story of an NRI family settled in Dubai, is scheduled to hit the screens April 8.
The movie, produced by Noble Babu Thomas under the banner of Big Bang Entertainments, also has Lekshmi Ramakrishnan, Sreenath Bhasi, Aima Rosmy Sebastian, Stacen, Reba John, Ashwin Kumar, Sai Kumar, TG Ravi, Dinesh Prabhakar and others in pivotal roles.
Also read: Check JSR live audience review
In an exclusive interview with International Business Times, India, Aima, who plays Ammu, the 16-year-old daughter of Renji's character and sister of Nivin's character talked about her experience of working with the team of "JSR" and what to expect from the Nivin-starrer.
International Business Times: How did you get the chance to be a part of "Jacobinte Swargarajyam"?
Aima: I am a dancer and I happened to do a show with Mythili Roy. Dinesh Prabhakar sir, the PRO [public relations officer] of "Jacobinte Swargarajyam," was back then searching for a new face who looks 16. So she suggested my name, following which they took my video auditions and finally selected me. And the funniest part is I wasn't even aware of the selection until the day before the shoot.
IBT: The movie is about an NRI family settled in Dubai. What can the audience expect from it?
Aima: "JSR" is based on the true story of a family settled in Dubai. The audience can expect a movie with family values. It's a heartwarming family entertainer, and the audience will love their families a little more after watching it.
IBT: Your first movie is packed with a group of youngsters among the cast and crew. How fun were the sets? Was the film shot completely in the UAE?
Aima: The crew was packed with youngsters and it was great fun to work with them as the set was always filled with jokes and laughs. While Bhasi and still-photographer Hasif play the guitar, Vineeth sings, making the sets lively. The movie was completely shot all over the UAE, in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman.
IBT: How was your experience of working with Nivin Pauly, Renji Panicker and others?
Aima: It was fun to work with Nivin Pauly, Renji sir, Lekshmi ma'am, Sreenath Bhasi, Stacen, Reba, Noble, Bonny (producers), Jomon, Baby and all the others. Nivin was very friendly and is quite funny, much like his characters in movies. He has helped me a lot in acting.
Renji sir plays my father in the movie, and treated me like his daughter. He used to take care of me until I returned home after wrapping up the shooting. I used to enjoy it when he made fun of me, saying my voice was creepy.
The very caring Lekshmi ma'am plays my mother's role in "JSR". With her experience as a director, she used to give me tips on how to improve myself. We even celebrated her birthday on the last day of shoot and she gave me a sweet memorable gift.
Bhasi was the cool and freaky guy who entertained us by playing songs on guitar. Stacen, who plays the role of my character's younger brother, was actually like my brother. We were best friends and used to fight and love each other. I realised how much I miss him only after the shooting.
Reba, the heroine of "JSR," has done a good job in her debut movie. We never missed the fun on the sets and enjoyed being together. Both of us love dancing, and we used to choreograph dance moves whenever we were free. I never felt like a fresher as all of them treated me very well. Thanks to the entire "JSR" team.
IBT: Your views on Vineeth Sreenivasan as a director?
Aima: He does a wonderful job as a director, making everyone fall in love with the characters in the movie. He is a down-to-earth person who spreads positive energy with his beautiful smile, which makes each one of us feel good. He never says "not enough;" instead he says "you can do better, bring something more."
IBT: You play the role Ammu in "JSR." Is she similar to the real you?
Aima: Yes, being Ammu was not a difficult task for me as I am very similar to her. Ammu is a cute 16-year-old girl who is always happy and bubbly. The only difference is I might be a little noisier than Ammu in real life.
IBT: What about your future projects?
Aima: I haven't committed to any project as of now. If I am approached with a good script, I will consider it.
IBT: Tell us a little about you and your family?
Aima: There's my father Sebastian John, mother Preetha, my twin sister Aina and younger sister Annie. We have been settled in Dubai for more than 20 years. I did my schooling from Sharjah Indian School and completed secondary schooling from Mount Carmel Vidhyaniketan in Kottayam, Kerala. I am a commerce graduate and am planning for postgraduation.