EXCLUSIVE: Scriptwriter Deepu Pradeep gets candid about his latest hit ‘Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil’ and quirky characters in his films

Thanks to his films, which have weddings as the backdrop, Deepu Pradeep is famous for creating a 'wedding universe' in Malayalam.

ByArjun Ramachandran

Published May 28, 2024 | 9:30 AM Updated May 28, 2024 | 9:30 AM

Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil scriptwriter Deepu Pradeep

Scriptwriter Deepu Pradeep is known for his quirky writing in Kunjiramayanam (2015) and Padmini (2023).

He also penned the script of Perilloor Premier League (2024), the Malayalam web series, which was widely appreciated for its slapstick comedy.

Deepu Pradeep’s latest film, Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil starring Prithviraj Sukumaran, Basil Joseph, Nikhila Vimal, and Anaswara Rajan, is running successfully in theatres.

In a candid chat with South First, scriptwriter Deepu Pradeep talks about his “wedding universe”, the over-the-top characters in Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil, his association with director Vipin Das, and much more.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. The success of your films (Kunjiramayanam, Padmini, and Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil) led to the coinage of a new term—”wedding universe”. Why do you write stories based on weddings?

A. Well, I have also written about other subjects. I wrote a sports drama five years ago. But the project didn’t take off for some reason.

However, the scripts I wrote later had weddings as the backdrop. Since marriages usually involve more characters and fun, I believe I can bring forth interesting stories.

Despite having the same (wedding) backdrop, you can notice that all my films are different in their way.

Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil is about a wedding happening in Guruvayoor. However, the movie revolves around the bromance between two brothers-in-law. The story and screenplay have freshness.

In Malayalam, we haven’t seen a movie based on the relationship of brothers-in-law.

Q. Right before its release, Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil was compared with Thenkasipattanam (2000) and Vettam (2004)—both comedies of errors. Were you afraid of these comparisons?

A. The promotional material might have given that impression to the audience. These comedy films have entertained us thoroughly and hence, the comparisons.

Filmmakers usually aim to convey the story to people in an entertaining way. But, for today’s audiences, the stories need to be narrated in a certain way. In Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil, we did the same.

Also Read: Senna Hegde’s ‘Padmini’ makes you laugh and also think

Q. While doing this movie, were you inspired by older comedy films?

Deepu Pradeep debuted with Kunjiramayanam

Deepu Pradeep debuted in Mollywood with ‘Kunjiramayanam’. (Supplied)

A. The films of Priyadarshan, Sathyan Anthikad, and Sreenivasan have inspired me a lot. They have a good re-watch value.

Also, I like doing movies like the ones penned by scriptwriter Raghunath Paleri. His works usually have several characters.

The inspirations differ for different genres. But, at the end of the day, we are here to narrate a story to the audience. To keep them entertained, we need to present the same elements from old films.

Q. The characters in your films are quite quirky. How do you mould them?

A. Comedy films won’t be interesting if all the characters behave normally. Only quirky roles can add fun to the story.

For instance, there are many people like Psycho Balan (from Perilloor Premier League) among us. similarly, some people’s actions bring laughter to those around them.

As a scriptwriter, my task is to recognise and present those people while making them an integral part of the plotline. I intentionally don’t include eccentric characters in a film unless the story demands it.

However, I make changes to the characters depending on the actors portraying them. Well, after all, dialogue delivery and pacing change with every artiste.

But I never insist that the roles must be portrayed in a certain way. I leave the rest to the director’s perspective and the actors.

Q. In Guruvayur Ambala Nadayil, I heard that the lead actors changed. Did you make any changes to the story /characters after the new cast was roped in?

A. Well, I didn’t alter the story. But yes, I did make some changes to the roles. I tweaked them to suit the body language of the actors.

We also changed some scenes since they were a bit outdated. The storyline was scripted in 2016.

Director Vipin Das and I discussed various elements and made necessary changes before the project hit the floors.

Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil review: Prithviraj Sukumaran and Basil Joseph deliver a terrific entertainer

Q. How did the thought of bromance between brothers-in-law occur to you?

Deepu Pradeep with Yogi Babu and Vipin Das

Scriptwriter Deepu Pradeep with actor Yogi Babu and director Vipin Das. (Supplied)

A. I have seen brothers-in-law who are very close and who are not on good terms with each other. Some elements in the film are inspired by these people.

But the twist is that though the two brothers-in-law in Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil share a good bond, people around them feel it’s otherwise; so does the audience.

It’s just that the characters are built in such a way. Well, only then can the conflict among them will work later.

Q. Please share your experience working with director Vipin Das.

A. Vipin Das and I have been friends since 2013. We did short films earlier.

We wanted to do a film together for a long time. We even discussed several ideas. We share a good chemistry, which helped us deliver a wholesome entertainer like Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil.

Q. The climax scenes in the replica of the Guruvayoor Temple needed lots of effort. How challenging was it?

A. It’s quite easy to write such scenes but pretty difficult to translate them onto the screen.

Initially, I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to shoot the climax part. However, Vipin Das and his crew pulled it off.

The climax portion was shot on a grand scale in 22 days. It was a risky part as it showcased the conflicts and realisation.

Vipin Das knew very well that it wouldn’t work in theatres if it misfired. But he came out with flying colours.

Even the dialogues play a vital role here. Vipin Das’s vision did wonders.

Also Read: I’m happy about my journey so far in cinema: Rajesh Madhavan

Q. How was it working with Prithviraj Sukumaran and Yogi Babu?

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil team at Dubai

Team ‘Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil’ in Dubai. (Supplied)

A. Prithviraj has a good sense of humour and is a good storyteller, too. He is a friendly person.

Yogi Babu is again an amiable actor. He is fun. He was unbelievable in the movie. The actor dubbed his dialogues in Chennai.

I had a good experience working on the film with such talented artistes.

Q. You have worked with Basil Joseph in his directorial debut Kunjiramayanam. How do you see his transformation as an actor?

A. Basil Joseph and I discussed this story before. And now, I must say, he is apt for the character.

I felt happy that Basil, the director of my debut film, was doing the lead role in Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil. I knew that Basil was a good actor since the time he appeared in Homely Meals (2014).

I am proud and happy that he carved a niche for himself as an actor, too, in the Malayalam industry.

Q. Can we expect films from you in other genres in the future?

A. Well, I have written scripts for revenge thrillers, investigative thrillers, and sports dramas. I like to experiment with genres.

My next two projects won’t be from the comedy genre. But as writers, we can’t plan our future ventures.

Also Read: Payal Kapadia’s ‘All We Imagine as Light’ wins Grand Prix award at Cannes 2024