Viji Thampi: Withstanding The Test Of Time
The veteran director of nearly thirty films and a career spanning over two decades, is thrilled at the prospect of working on his dream project, 'VeluThampi Dalawa' | By Mukesh Venu
On Jul 14, 2012


Viji Thampi was never considered a frontline director in the Malayalam film industry. Yet, he has given memorable hits like 'Soorya Mansam' and 'Simhavalan Menon' in the twenty plus years that he had been in the field. Essentially known as a director of comedy and family oriented films, Viji Thampi proved he could deliver action packages as well, through the success of the Suresh Gopi starrer 'Sathyameva Jayathe'. Then he sidestepped to the mini-screen, directing the prime time hit 'Black & White', an innovatively themed serial with actor Siddique playing the central role.

All these accomplishments come from someone who wished to be an actor once.

“But I am not feeling disappointed for not becoming a full time actor,” says Viji Thampi. “During the early days itself I realised that my inner calling was not to act but to direct. Ultimately, my desire was to give the audience a treat to watch. At the beginning, I had reckoned that the marks obtained by a movie from the audience solely rest on the ability of actors. But I was wrong; now I would say that acting is one of the more easier things to do while making a movie.”


Viji Thampi


Very few names in the industry have withstood the test of times, whether it is in front of the camera or behind it. While many of the one time trademark names have more or less become part of history, Viji Thampi still find himself at ease, adapting with the changing times and tastes.

“You can't allow yourself to get the notion that you are the ultimate deciding factor of the movie. A movie is for the audience and when making it, you always have to try and make it suit to the tastes of the audience, no matter what the theme is,” he explains regarding his long-stay in the industry.


As a director, he accepts the fact that Malayalam films at present are definitely affected by the lack of genuine creative content with their themes, although the mode of approach has undergone a drastic change over the years. But, agreeing to the fact that Malayalam films could do better if there were someone like M T Vasudevan Nair writing scripts on a regular basis, he still finds the fault not to be entirely that of the film industry.

“I would rather suggest that it is the field of Malayalam literature that hasn't changed with the change in times. While the works of MT and others were relevant for their times, the present day scenario demands a whole different level of thoughts and writing style to bring out the clear picture. So there is no point blaming the film makers alone; a part of it lies with those in the literature field who have failed to take the language ahead with the times.”

 Viji Thampi


The changing times have also brought a change into the definitions of various terms. A director now has to be aware of the latest technological inputs used in making movies and has his role broadened and diversified while in the making of a movie. But the veteran director in Viji Thampi is confident that the integrity of the director will sustain him even as things change.


“A movie is what the director sees in a script, which now includes many levels of aspects. All these aspects may have different experts meant to handle a particular section, but the end decision always stays with the director and a director always makes his decision judging on the creative output in the movie. Direction is a profession that's required by the medium and not by time; it will remain as it is, intact, even though everything else might change around it.”

Viji Thampi describes the transition from the big screen towards the small screen as a smooth one but not entirely free of any challenges.

“In a movie, the story is at the core and you are primarily trying to narrate a story in a span of two-three hours. But serials are shown on a daily basis and so while taking care not to loose track of the story, you have to provide half an hour worth of entertainment on a daily basis, which is a very challenging task. There is also a huge difference in the psychology of the audience to whom you are catering your product.”

The director's next venture is the Dileep starrer 'Nadodi Mannan', which is progressing for a November release. While Viji Thampi is confident about this 'humorous entertainer' making it big at the box office, he is more excited about what he refers to as his dream project, 'VeluThampi Dalawa'.


“I see 'Soorya Manasam' as the landmark movie in my career, but VeluThampi Dalawa is something bigger. It is scheduled to be a mega project with script to be written by Renji Panicker and Prithviraj playing the lead. We are only at the very beginning stage of the project and there's still more research work pending before coming up with a date for the shooting to begin. But 'VeluThampi Dalawa' would be another landmark in my career.”

Shooting for this ambitious big-budget project is scheduled to commence next year. It holds all the potential to push Viji Thampi towards being in the top league of directors in the industry. Withstanding the test of time, Viji Thampi stands tall in the industry as one of the longest running successful directors, who is readying himself to reach the zenith of his career by realizing his dream project.


Movie Poster Courtesy: popcorn.oneindia.in

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