Way back in 2012. I had just joined as a trainee reporter at ‘The New Indian Express’, Kozhikode. I used to be assigned with the task of attending press meets and one day, as usual, the bureau chief wanted me to attend a press meet. He said the crew of newly-released Malayalam movie ‘Shutter’ was coming and I was quite thrilled because I was a fan of actor/director Lal who had enacted the male lead role in that movie and I came to know that he would also come with the team.
The press hall was jam-packed unlike the normal days. ‘Shutter’ team was the second or third in the queue. Apart from Lal, Sajitha Madathil who played the female lead was also present along with other important members associated with the movie including the director Joy Mathew. I was sitting in the first row and it was the first ever time I was attending a press meet of a cinema crew. The movie was receiving good reviews. It was the director’s turn first. Joy Mathew spoke about his journey from a cinema enthusiast to film-maker and all the thought process and efforts behind ‘Shutter’. It was an appealing narration in his characteristic manner.
I glanced around and saw that everybody was looking at Mr. Lal as they wished to know the actor’s experience with the movie. He leaned forward to the mike putting a end to all the side-talks and murmurs and the hall suddenly attained pin drop silence. He described about how and what made the movie a talk of the town. At one point where he had to speak about his co-actors he said he never expected a woman like Sajitha Madathil to act opposite him. Once again I looked around as I wanted to see my journalist friends’ expression. I felt a shadow of surprise and shock spreading in the hall. Mr. Lal was not interrupted. He kept on talking and at several instances where he had to refer to the female lead, he said he expected something different.