Interview Of The Week: Blessy’s ‘Pranayam’
“The excitement of the next moment keeps you going. And you rediscover yourself every day. And there lies the mysterious beauty of life,” says Blessy as he shares a thing or two about life in an exclusive chat with Shameem Faruque
On Aug 29, 2011


The intensity of the subject of Blessy's 'Pranayam' hits you as you talk to the director.

"For so many years I have been carrying the subject in me as a writer, journeying with it as visuals and words. I have now transferred that to the characters. It's like letting go of something that was your own till now. And that is painful," says the man who, in his words, has not gone through Pranayam himself.



But then he hastens to add, "Even if I held Pranayam in me, no one came to know of it."

He directly goes to Gracy, the character played by the very beautiful Jayaprada. “You will see the woman in her different facets in ‘Pranayam’. A wife, a mother and the thousand emotions that a woman goes through. You will find the intricacies of a poem unfurling here, as the woman meets the two men in her life, who have known her completely, physically as well as emotionally at two different phases of her life.



“Perhaps, Gracy is one of the strongest characters Jayaprada has played so far,” Blessy says with confidence. Blessy is proud to have ‘Gracy’ portrayed by an actor who was once described as the most beautiful woman in the world by the great Satyajit Ray. Even Jayaprada has acknowledged that ‘Pranayam’ is indeed a milestone in her career.

Every movie from the time the very seed of the story sprouts is a pilgrimage for a director, a very deep personal journey especially for a director like Blessy who took lessons in film-making from legends like Padmarajan and Lohithadas.


“There is an invisible spark that flashes just seeing the look or a smile of a person and when the beauty within him is revealed to you. You don’t need to see a bio-data or wade through his past work. You just connect with him,” explains Blessy on his decision to hand over the camera to a novice like Satheesh Kurup.  The cinematographer has proved Blessy right and has captured exactly what ‘Pranayam’ needs through his lens.

For this gifted director it was an added catharsis to make two senior artists, not used to the culture of the land, to do two strong characters in a Malayalam cinema. Anupam Kher and Jayaprada. “But then I got more than I asked for. It was unbelievable. They gave me an incredible performance,” Blessy vouches. Anupam Kher who plays a key role in the movie seems to agree as he divulged in a recent press conference in Kochi, that his role in ‘Pranayam’ is one among the seven best characters that he cherishes so far in his acting career! So, Blessy now has a fine feather added to his cap.


Was Blessy nervous at any time? “For me a movie is a battle fought. I feel like a warrior crossing swords with the umpteen nuances as I shoot. I had parented the story even before the faces started appearing. As a writer-director I am well aware of its meandering ways and possibilities. I know every move that a character should make, whether the character should smile or sob and when. Every visual is ready in my mind’s eye,” the captain of the ship clarifies. “But rarely would a location or a fine moment make a director instinctively improvise,” adds Blessy.



Each one has an outlook towards life, whether it is cinema, literature or music. And that reflects in what one does. And for Blessy, the valuable lessons he learnt from the masters of Malayalam cinema, as he journeyed with them, have enhanced him much further. “My movie ‘Kazhcha’ was actually my kazhcha (offering) to my Guru.” Blessy has gone through almost 25 years of hibernation for ‘Pranayam’. “As you grow, six and sixty are the same, they say. One is the beginning and the other twilight. When individuals share the same track from their teenage years into their grey-haired, fading days, their emotions reach another level.” Blessy has conveyed that in ‘Pranayam’ without losing any of its matured flavour.


And about him, Blessy feels that the moment he knows he is good is the end. “The excitement of the next moment keeps you going. And you rediscover yourself every other day. And there lies the mysterious beauty of life.” One almost feels as if Blessy is the one chosen for ‘Pranayam’. And the story has further inspired beautiful songs by M Jayachandran. And Mohan Lal as a character who believes in endless Pranayam is going to stand apart.

Blessy reminiscences, “Onam is a sensation created by those engulfing memories of celebration of childhood. Otherwise, the film industry keeps you busy. The way I wailed my heart out while going in the boat to see Nerettupuram boat race with my mother is still fresh in my memory.” For Blessy, ‘Pranayam’ is a heavy downpour. But then the sky darkens soon again, the grey clouds loom large and Blessy is right in the middle of them. And another story will sprout, flagging off a new journey.


Image Courtesy: nowrunning.com

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The story must have been told from Jayapradha's point of view. Blessy has once again fallen into the Superstar trap. It has devalued itself to a mediocre movie. Why those rain drenched scenes of Jayapradha? If one cannot plant the foot firmly while telling a story, better not splash the mud around....
Krishnakumar, on Sep 18, 2011 12:33:58 AM
A man who is having a wife and a woman who is having a husband may develop an accidental relationship that is depicted in the movie and when that relation ship is appreciated by themselves would have been much more realistic. Our pseudo sages(the society) will despise that relation ship eventhough it is devoid of sex.
George, on Oct 09, 2011 04:11:50 PM
Blessys PRANAYAM is a copy of the australian film INNOCENCE directed by Paulcox.Blessy made some changes here and there to decieve the poor critics and audience.His film KAZCHA was a copy of the iranian film BASHU THE LITTLE STRANGER. Bramaram was the shadow of THAZHVARAM.Anyway somebody should bell this copycat.His guru PADMARAJAN WAS A REAL GENIUS.Blessy should stop plagiarism and should do something original of his own.
Santhu, on Oct 18, 2011 10:46:02 PM
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