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Ustad Hotel – at the shoot

A new structure has sprung up on Calicut beach – “Ustad Hotel”. 🙂 Its so much fun to see something literally pop out from the script pages and stand there in multidimensional reality! I had thought that one feels that kind of happiness only when one is a director but I was wrong. Am elated as a writer too!

I can see more experienced writers roll their eyes and say in low tones “wait till the film gets done, and see if you recognize your story in there!” Maybe that’s true but I believe the script should only be a springboard to find the kind of magic a film needs. And its the director who recognizes that magic.

Writing can be a lonely process. In this case after months of writing and discussion, one day Anwar asked me to look at one of his reference stills on flicker. When I did, I was shocked to find thousands of stills all of which were in some way related to the film I was writing. It felt so good to know that he had done so much homework – which meant he cared about this piece of work! What else can one ask for ? 🙂

Am not the writer-on-set type, so I have visited the shooting set just a couple of times. At both times I came away smiling because I loved what I saw… on paper the scenes were warm, funny, simple slices of life. And now to see good actors turning into those characters was even better. Anwar & his team are filling the frame with soul.

Often during our script discussions – Anwar would ask me with reference to a dialogue or scene  “Anjali happy aano?” I hope everything works out well and the film turns out to be the charming fable we all hoped for.

But so far “Anjali happy aanu!” 🙂

Comments: 46

  • Mathew Mampra February 17, 201210:02 am

    Appreciating others is a good gesture.Anwar should be happy in getting appreciated from a reasonably good director.Keep writing & directing Anjali.All the best

  • therezaa February 17, 201210:12 am

    Love the simplicity and enthusiasm in your posts. I think it is just reflection of your personality 🙂

    I too wish and hope everything works out well and you be able to watch the magic you envisioned on screen…thus making you more happy:) all d best..

  • dannilla February 17, 201210:28 am

    I’m hoping this is the food-portagonist project you mentioned before. really looking forward to this yum-sounding project.

  • pradeep Nair February 17, 201211:23 am

    എല്ലാ വിധ ആശംസകളും ….

  • hormese February 17, 201211:38 am

    i read the article in Hindu paper. Thilakkan is a brilliant actor. (remember moonam pakkam, kereedam and many more)
    i have a doubt. how do you include the North kerala Dialect. i mean who takes care of that part? Happy for you guys. sounds like you are having a lot of fun. Good luck to you and rest of the team. and to the new Actor, Dilquer.

  • Ajas February 17, 201212:28 pm

    Anjali happy aanu!”

  • Sichu Joy February 17, 20125:47 pm

    Wow thats sounds like a good concept:) its good to here now in Malayalam Films will come more of script and as technically much better than a Lal or Mammuka’s Story:-) All Thank’s to you…. Also I am asking 4 a Chance to do an Amazing Screen Play & a Creative Directorial Move:-) Just One Chance…. Editing or a Screen Play Writer. I can show u one of my Writer’n Screen Play, if u like to see or getting An hour free time…. Thanks

  • sidhin February 17, 201211:30 pm

    all d very bst mam…Hope Ustad hotel l be another trendsettr in malayalam

  • sidhin February 17, 201211:33 pm

    Maam..is der any way 2 gt a dvd of MAnchadikuru..

  • hrishyvasudev February 17, 201211:46 pm

    @ Anjali Menon

    Its very rare in Malayalam Industry, to hear that a Shoot starts after the full Script. Very much waiting for the movie, all the very Best.

    we had a Class of Harikumar Sir, on live sound recording… I heard from him that your “Manjadikkuru” will be released for Vishu or after Vishu 😀 .. is it true .. ? we really want to see that film.. pls reply …

  • surajmangalassery February 17, 201211:49 pm

    എല്ലാവിധ ഭാവുകങ്ങളും നേരുന്നു

  • cinematters February 18, 201212:13 am

    Looking forward to this Anjali. Really, really looking forward to this 🙂

  • suhail February 18, 20122:43 pm

    njangalum ‘happy’ aavane ennu aashikkunnu!!!

    • suhail February 18, 20122:52 pm

      athilupari praarthikkukayum cheyyunnu!

  • Aswin Krishna February 18, 20122:57 pm

    So happy to see your write up.Waiting for the movie…..All the very best.

  • Sreekumar February 18, 20124:37 pm

    waitng for ur new concept and vission.. best wishes…

  • Pyari February 18, 201210:33 pm

    Am sure that the chemistry between you and Anwar is going to bring out wonders.

  • shahas February 19, 20121:28 am

    waiting 4 d movie chechi..
    God bless 🙂

  • Deborah Julius February 19, 201210:36 am

    When “Mugambo khush hua…” it made for an unforgettable super hit! And he was only the villain. Since “Anjali happy aanu….” we expect and look forward to a historic page of Indian Cinema… 😀 Can’t wait!!!!!

  • vibin nath February 20, 20129:37 am

    best wishes”……………………..

  • anvarsyedSyed February 21, 20122:07 pm

    It will be redundant,if I am putting comments or wishes here,as so many ones have already done it..Anyway,I am getting my hopes up……..May the God bless you……….

  • Unnikrishnan Madhavan February 21, 20122:08 pm

    Hi Anjali M’am,

    I dream to turn into one of those characters you create.
    Eagerly awaiting …

  • Neethu Mathew February 21, 20123:10 pm

    I’m really waiting for your manjadikuru……

  • Mani P S February 22, 201210:00 am

    Really happy for you Anjali. To be able to write that sounds meaningful is a blessing. Please continue the good work. May God bless you.

  • asishmenon February 23, 20121:20 am

    Interesting. Inspiring.

    Nice to read your excitement. Did you say, the movie would have been different if you were to direct? Would you like to post another article post movie release, so that we readers/viewers will get to know the enrichment that excited you?

    Kozhikkodan dialects reflect more sincerity it seems. I like to chat with a few of my friends/colleagues from Malappuram-Calicut belt, for the same reason.

    All the best AM and Team!

  • Harsha March 5, 20121:09 am

    Very much looking forward to this. I’m a sucker for stories about food and family history and we don’t have too many of those in Malayalam cinema.

  • Abdulsalam CP March 6, 20121:04 pm

    It should be another new generation movie..


  • anzeem March 6, 20121:30 pm

    very happy to hear this…our industry really need such fresh talents….anwar ikka is 1 of the most wanted commercial entertainer…eagerly waitng for the movie…

  • Vineeth March 8, 20121:11 pm

    The person behind truly masala blockbusters like Rajamanikkam,Annanthampi, Chotta Mumbai and the person behind “unconventional” themes like Happy Journey, Manjadikkuru..
    Its truly a different combination. Hoping that that return-wise it follows the former, what can the common theatre-goer expect from this movie?
    (Just an approximation would be sufficient 🙂 )

      • Raj April 16, 20121:05 pm

        Is it just as well? All I could remember about Anwar is Bridge only – one of the best roles of Kalpana, Santhakumari and Salim kumar.

      • Bahul Babu May 8, 201212:30 pm

        spot on mam ……

  • unfloccinaucinihilipilificationist March 14, 20122:18 pm

    This is not to promote the ‘good film which would have been a flop if not marketed well’.. This is on behalf of the ‘happy customer’, who ‘sincerely’ clapped his hands and left the theater with the ‘proper’ satisfaction of watching the ‘good movie’…

    ‘Kahani’ is not the perfect movie I saw.. It wont even be placed in my top ten list.. but it is happy seeing the shells breaking… when vidya balan got the national award, i was like hw the hell did she got an award for a dirty picture( which I dint c). I also cursed the moment when I dint had much choice other than for ‘kahani’.. But after watchin, it got into my recommendation list of must watch movies..

    The first and foremost reason is Vidya balan. She made me ask the same question by prithviraj to thilakan uncle in ‘Indian Rupee’. ‘Where the hell wer u all des tym’?? I knw she would hv de same answer too.. Seriously, she did a wonderful job, which could be understood only if u c the movie.

    Then comes the director Sujay Gosh.. As a director, he should be cinematically insane to choose such a subject and cast (except for vidya balan, der isn’t many established ones.) after an average entry and the successful completion of two consecutive big budget flops. He proved a master story teller with his thriller narrative on ‘Kahani’

    Kolkata is beautiful city. I knew this fact. It inspired me always after ‘ Mazhayethum Munpe’.
    But cinematographer Setu, together with the editor Namrata rao and director are the ones who told me kolkata is ‘so beautiful’. They added new dimensions and flavored it. Kolkata city plays a major role with its glory and the past it possess.

    And finally,on the cast and characterization. Diverting a bit. If u consider films for a SWOT analysis, I would say even for major hits, the casting and characterization will be the W factor or the T factor. Here, is where “kahani” shows its identity. Advaita kala was actually drawing characters from the people around you.. and they did casting so well dat u would wonder ‘wtf I knw him… and wot the hell s he doing on the screen..’ parambrata chaterjee ( ASI Rana). Nawazudin Sidiqui( IB Officer), Saswata Chaterjee(Insurance agent cum killer) were wonderful..

    Still it has certain flaws, a bit of drag and melodrama especially to the climax, but which solutes at the high end performances…

    “Kahani’ is not the Emerald or Ruby you are looking for. But it is a Gem among stones.

  • Subish, Calicut May 10, 201212:30 pm

    Best wishes!

    There are a lot of fresh ideas / feel we get from the new generation Mal movies… I really wish you get the real rewards for the efforts that you are putting in

    One small thought from my side: Why can’t you showcase new movies online in release day itself with some e-ticketing?

    More than 50% of the people loving new generation Malayalam movie are out of Kerala / India. If there is law that needs to be changed, get it done before Ganesh Kumar leave his chair. Else don’t release in theatre and release only online, I bet you will earn more as cost will be reduced
    Every time I search for Malayalam movies in Google / Youtube, I feel disgrace and But please understand our love to watch good movies

  • gauthamkalikrishna June 27, 201212:04 am


  • riaz September 1, 20122:03 pm

    actress name in the song vaathilil?

  • Mohandas Amesh March 18, 20138:00 pm

    I enjoyed Usthad Hotel, watched it like 3-4 times… because this is Aesthetic cinema… beautiful portrayal of the realities we see around us.

  • Dreamymaya March 18, 20138:36 pm

    great going Anjali! am so happy to know that the movie won award..but more than the award this movie had won hearts of millions. Of that I am very sure..I am a Kozhikodukari and this movie had really captured every essence of the place and its charm. Of course Ustad himself was a prathibasam! There were three instances in the movie which I loved to the core may be because I could relate to it very well
    1. Shahana’s pennukannal…typical calicut style. Ah! How many times I had gone through the same, coming sunday again a repeat telecast of it is going to play in my house. I will certainly remember the scene from your movie. The way Shahana says -“If she had a choice, then she would not have married 🙂 ” I could feel it
    2. When Faizal and Shahana runs away from the goons, the background score was amazing..its one of the best, actually I could feel the thrill of it..I dunno whenever I watch it it brings a wide smile on my face and I am automatically happy as if I was running and enjoying that feel..:-)
    3. This scene really touched me,, really really…when Ustad is in hospital due to heart attack, faizal says “I hope Uppuppa don’t ask me to stay back, emotional blackmail” somewhere I saw me in him and Shahana’s response to it was excellent..

    I haven’t watched Manjadikuru till now. May be soon..:-)

  • Abhinand Pb March 21, 20138:06 am

    but It would have more beautiful if you directed the film….I love Manjadikuru….but less appreciation from audience (because of less audience… …..)….but Ustad hotel very high appreciation …I feel lot of good scenes and dialogues…but not like it completely …may be because of lot of expectations…

  • Emil Mathew June 17, 20147:27 am

    Rarely do you find a person whose taste, thinking and view point is very similar. I love every work of yours for the simplicity, charm and warmth. You are truly an inspiration. Looking forward to your upcoming works 🙂

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