The mannerisms of characters in ‘Pattaapakal’ are inspired by my friends: Writer PS Arjun

'Pattaapakal' is a musical dark comedy directed by Saajir Sadaf. It is hitting the marquee in September.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published Aug 20, 2023 | 11:00 AM Updated Aug 20, 2023 | 11:00 AM

PS Arjun

PS Arjun enjoys the process of scriptwriting.

A native of Thalassery in Kerala, Arjun completed engineering in computer science and worked in Infosys. He started writing scripts after learning the format in 2010.

He debuted as a director with the Tamil movie Amutha (2018), a musical psychological thriller.

The young filmmaker has also been a column writer at different media outlets covering Malayalam and Tamil cinema.

In an exclusive interview with South First, Arjun shares his experience as a writer, ghostwriter, and his forthcoming film Pattaapakal (Daylight).

Directed by Saajir Sadaf, the movie is slated for release in September.

What is Pattaapakal about?

Interestingly, Arjun wrote the script of Pattaapakal in 2014.

“Well, it is a dark comedy. I usually don’t write comedy. But this is an exception. It didn’t work out then for some reason.”

PS Arjun and Saajir Sadaf

Writer PS Arjun with director Saajir Sadaf on the sets of ‘Pattaapakal’. (Supplied)

He explained why: “Though many people were part of the script, they established themselves as actors over the period. At that time, we named the project ‘Calypso’. But sometime later, I quit it.”

Arjun recollected that comedy was trending in Kerala when he shifted to the State from Tamil Nadu. Keeping this in mind, he took up the project again and focused on humour.

“I couldn’t find a producer as Pattaapakal is not a single-hero script. The story has two-three tracks and every actor gets equal importance. One day, Saajir Sadaf enquired me about the script and immediately gave it a green signal.”

He remarked, “I would say, it’s a musical comedy. Shaan Rahman composed the music which came out really well. I am confident that a particular song will be a super hit.”

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Non-linear format

PS Arjun with Krishna Sankar and Saajir Sadaf

PS Arjun with Krishna Sankar and Saajir Sadaf. (Supplied)

The movie has been shot in Kottayam. The story has three layers and is a non-linear subject.

Pattaapakal can be summed up in one line: a minister loses something really precious.

“A gangster named Carlos loots the belonging and gives it away to another person. The minister leaves no stone unturned to get it back; else, his future is at stake,” the scriptwriter revealed.

He further added, “In the middle of the story, the other main actors appear in a non-linear track like that in Aaytha Ezhuthu (Tamil, 2004). Well, I like non-linear subjects!”

Johny Antony plays the role of minister and Kichu Tellus the gangster.

Krishna Sankar and Ramesh Pisharody will appear in significant roles.

According to Arjun, all the characters go through some serious situations but their activities have a flavour of comedy. “They are not stupid but their actions bring humour to the plot. The hero comes in the second half. I’m actually more interested in the latter half,” he said, with a smug.

And guess what? Though the writer created the incidents in Pattaapakal, the mannerisms of the characters are inspired by his friends based in Thalassery.

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‘Music sets my mood’

PS Arjun briefing script to Kichu Tellus

PS Arjun briefing a scene to Kichu Tellus. (Supplied)

Arjun wanted to be a Tamil writer and learnt the language on his own. Indeed, he worked as a ghostwriter, too, in Chennai.

He also worked as an assistant director in a handful of films in Kannada and Marathi. Soon after he completed Pattaapakal, he got an offer in Malayalam which he could not turn down.

Arjun is fond of music. “It inspires me a lot. I do hear five-six songs that match the mood of a script,” he quipped.

It’s not like he takes inspiration from songs every time he pens a script. But he says it helps set his mood.

“Who Killed Maria (2020) is my favourite script. I wrote it after hearing the song “Devathaiya Kandein” from the Tamil movie Kaadhal Kondein (2003),” he said.

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‘I’m more into serious roles’

PS Arjun at the location of Pattaapakal

Arjun on the sets of ‘Pattaapakal’. (Supplied)

Arjun has his own process for scriptwriting.

“I read the script again and again. Scriptwriting is all about rewriting for me. When someone briefs me about a script and if I believe it doesn’t work, then I don’t write it,” he shrugged.

He says he doesn’t write about serious subjects just like that.

“While I can write comedy easily, I usually create serious roles from the books I read because I need to be aware of their thoughts and actions. It took me two years to complete Who Killed Maria. Actually, I’m more into serious roles,” the writer smiled.

Surprisingly, after signing Pattaapakal, Arjun wrote four comedy scripts. He gives credit to his friends for encouraging him to write humour after reading his previous scripts and serious roles.

During the lockdowns, he worked on a handful of ad films and even translated stories from Malayalam to Tamil. Nevertheless, Pattaapakal is his first Malayalam script.

Well, here’s wishing him the best for his upcoming venture!

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