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'Ammathottil' marks return of three legends of Malayalam cinema

Ammathottil marks return of three legends of Malayalam cinema

Thiruvananthapuram: The three legends of Malayalam cinema - thespian Madhu, yesteryear actress Sarada and ace filmmaker Sreekumaran Thampi - have got together for "Ammathottil".

Addressing reporters here Wednesday, Thampi, a veteran who has produced 24 films and directed 29 films in a career that started in 1974, said he was forced to stay away for over two decades due to unfavourable changes in the showbiz.

"I strongly believe that a director creates a star and not vice-versa. During my peak time, there were stars like Prem Nazir, Jayan and Madhu," said Thampi.

"Mohanlal and Mammootty had just begun their careers and the latter through my film 'Munettam' established himself as a star. Then things changed and the stars started calling the shots and there were times when directors would wait with the scripts to get a call sheet. I just could not do that, hence decided to stay away," added the director.

A multi-faceted film personality, Madhu, now touching 81, in his illustrious career, which began in 1963, has so far acted in more than 300 films besides producing over 20 movies, directing a dozen and even owned a studio on the outskirts of the city, which he later closed down.

"I am extremely delighted that Thampi has decided to return and he has chosen me and Sarada, which is really exciting. Over the years I have acted in eight films with her and I have already turned nostalgic because Thampi's love and passion for cinema is quite known to me," said Madhu.

Sarada, even though a Telugu by birth, was quite popular in Kerala during her prime.

"I am like a deer as I sit between the two 'lions' of the Malayalam film industry and am very happy that an opportunity like this has come now.

"You should know that of the three National Awards I got in acting, two was for Malayalam films and in both these films, Madhu acted as a co-star," recalled the 68-year-old.

Thampi will start shooting in August and the film will be readied for a December release.

"The film tells the tale of a joint family that has completely disappeared from our state. I know that this can never come back but through my film I want to create an awareness of what the joint family system meant," added Thampi, who is directing and co-producing it in collaboration with Mumbai-based businessman, Roy John.

The star cast also includes National Award-winning actor Suraj Venjaranmoodu, Indrans, Lalu Alex and Mumbai-based Kathakali artiste Tara Varma.

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