Anya the Other in Hind and Marathi

Why Simmy Joseph made debut movie, Anya The Other in Hindi and Marathi, not Malayalam?

The debut movie of Dr Simmy Joseph is set to release simultaneously in Hindi and Marathi on June 10th. Simmy did his PHD from JNU and he is a political activist. But why would a Malayalee make his directorial entry in Hindi and Marathi? Lifestyle Today News (Malayalam) on Mentza had a LIVE 20 minute audio chat with Simmy. 

He was in Film City Goregaon, busy with the upcoming release of his movie, ‘Anya The Other’ in Hindi and Marathi. The Bollywood star-studded film has Raima Sen and Atul Kulkarni in the lead role and one of the songs sung by Salman Ali of the Indian Idol fame. Salman is popular for his high pitched singing and Sufi songs. Sajeev Sarathie who penned three of the five songs in this movie, also shares his experience about the movie making.

Here is an excerpt of the interview:

Making of the movie Anya The Other in Hindi and Marathi

What is the story line?

People don’t pay much attention to human trafficking news. Many abductions are happening from urban areas, villages and neighboring countries which goes unnoticed. It includes women, children and men also. Our film is a social cause project based on human trafficking. In the movie a street boy is sent to a documentary filmmaker, and they walk through the streets with a hidden camera and get to know more about human trafficking. And thus the story unravels. 

How did the story come about?

A Writer and Director will always have a set of stories. When we tell the stories, anything can happen. Sometimes the producers will like it, sometimes the actor will like it and sometimes the project won’t take off. I had announced another project before this. I did my research at JNU, so I planned to do a film, for which I approached Atul Kulkarni. The name of the project was ‘Teesri Duniya’ portraying the life of a student activist in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). Now, Atul is the lead actor in Anya the other in hindi and marathi. Since Teesari Duniya did not happen, I thought of doing a more socially relevant story. That is how this story developed. I had a friend, who knew a victim of human trafficking. So I thought of doing a movie based on the story he shared.

When you approached the lead actors, what was their response?

When someone approaches an actor repeatedly for various projects, they know that you are serious about what you are doing. Actors like Atul and Raima usually support the Directors. All they want is the surety that there is a producer, so that the project won’t get shelved. Because when a project, they work in, gets suspended, that spreads a negative remark about them in the industry. Someone agreed to produce my movie, so that part was taken care of. If you approach a big star like Sharukh Khan, meeting them and discussing the story will never happen. Raima Sen is a documentary film maker and Atul an activist in the movie. They both like the character very much. Normally for a debut director or a script writer, it is not easy to reach the actors. Raima Sen, Atul Kulkarni and Nandita Das who do activist oriented stories, are approachable. 

Tell us something about the shooting of the movie

Most of the locations were in Delhi. Though the Hindi film industry is based in Mumbai, we have more connections in Delhi. It was easier to get locations and to manage the film. Good theater artists from Delhi, became part of the movie. Anya in effect is a Movie based in Delhi. 

Being a malayalee, why did you make the movie in hindi and marathi first and not in Malayalam?

People remember us for the success we have in our life. However there might be so many things in our life which did not go well. Similarly, I tried a lot in malayalam. I approached actors like Kunjacko Bobban and Jayasurya. When Atul Kulkarni said that he liked the story and that he would do the movie, that is when the project began.

The biggest challenge in movie making is to get an actor with some commercial standing to agree to do the movie. Then only we can begin the pre-production planning. When the actors like the story, producers become willing to spend the money. Bringing stars is the biggest hurdle.

I tried making a movie in malayalam in 2015 and 2016. I approached Kunchacko and Jayasurya, they used to talk but never ended up discussing the project. Had they listened to the story, and given their date, probably a film would have happened in malayalam. 

Most of the time the difficulty of a director or a writer in the reachability of the stars, that sometimes does not let the project to happen. Especially in Kerala it is very difficult. If we want to make a movie with a lead actor, in Kerala, we have to wait for 2 years. 

Will you make a movie is Malayalam

Now there are more contacts and networking in Hindi as Anya the Other was made in Hindi. So making  another movie in Hindi will be much easier. In Malayalam, I have to make a fresh start. 

What was your experience like, shooting with a pan Indian crew and artists?

Maybe because of all the hard work, the debut itself was in Bollywood. It gave me a wider canvas. A movie shot is Delhi, with actors and location in Delhi. Though in Delhi, it was a marathi cinema.

Most of the actors are from Marathi, lead actresses from Bengal and the film made in Hindi and Marathi. The crew was 50 percent Malayalees. For many in the crew, it was an opportunity to work in Hindi. Releasing the movie in Marathi is comparatively easy because high profile Marathi actors are there in the movie. 

Why did you wait for two years for a theater release, why not go for a OTT release during the Lockdown?

There is a business angel to the movies, more than the art side. For an exclusive release on OTT, if it is of stars like Mohanlal or Prithviraj, then many OTT platforms take the movie. On the other hand for actors like Suresh Venjaramoodu, no OTT will be ready to give an entrance. The Great Indian Kitchen went to the OTT only later. 

Sajeev Sarathie talks about Simmy and your experience about the making of the movie Anya The Other in hindi and marathi

I have known Simmy for the past seven years. I haven’t seen anyone work with so much dedication. Based in Delhi, he didn’t have any link with Mumbai. Just because of his determination he could find all the star actors, they liked the story and decided to act in the movie.

I was connected with Anya The Other in Hindi and marathi, since the beginning. Simmy heard some of the songs written by me, he selected three of them. Some of the songs rewritten to match the situations in the movie. All my songs in this movie are my favorites, with one of the songs sung by Indian Idol (2018), Salman Ali.

I feel this movie has a vast canvas. The story line is good, the songs sink in with the story and the cast includes a number of high profile actors. So the movie cannot be simply called a ‘low budget cinema’. That Simmy could finally turn the movie into the look and feel of a big budget movie, is in itself a big achievement.

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Listen to the Live audio interview (in malayalam) with Simmy Joseph about the Making of the movie ‘Anya the Other

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