Thirty-four years after he first wielded the megaphone for Kurukkante Kalyanam (1983), Sathyan Anthikkad—whom Malayalees loved for his virtuous family dramas—is still around with his latest movie Jomonte Suvisesangal, which is doing wonders in theatres.
“I don’t feel it has been 34 years. I still get jitters before every movie,” he says. He has an explanation for the longevity of his career. “For the last 15 years, I have been doing only one movie a year. When I am not working, I stay home in Anthikkad, where I assume the role of a viewer. I watch movies of new directors, learn new techniques, read about what’s happening around the world. I put in a conscious effort to stay updated and evolve with the times,” says the director.
Sathyan is not comfortable experimenting. Like a critic once wrote, the syllabus in the Sathyan Anthikkad school of film-making never changes. He believes breaking the mould is like forfeiting his brand of movies.
“People tell me they don’t wait for reviews of a Sathyan Anthikkad film. They know what I have to offer. I don’t make movies that make them squirm in theatres. My brand is my identity. I cannot just change it one fine morning,” he says.
“I did a crime thriller, Pingami, early in my career and a political satire, Sandesham, but all those were rooted in family values. While I am ready to explore realms, I don’t want to let it wander from families,” says Sathyan, whose latest movie had Dulquer Salman in the lead.
After working with all leading stars of Mollywood, how does it feel to switch to the younger breed? “The one thing Mohanlal, Mammootty, Dulquer Salman or Fahadh Fasil have in common is their commitment to films. It is their passion that makes it a pleasure to work with them. I have worked with Mammootty and his son Dulquer. Both have a very different approach to work, and for me, this is a great experience. I don’t choose to work with young stars. I pick actors who suit my story and the character,” he says.
As his son Anoop Sathyan readies to make his debut in Malayalam, Sathyan says, “Both my sons are venturing into the industry. They have their own perspective about movies. I don’t guide or instruct them. I am more like a friend. Anoop might direct a movie with Dulquer in the lead soon,” says the director.