Even as the fate of Ketan Mehta's Rang Rasiya, featuring Randeep Hooda as the father of mythological calendar-art Raja Ravi Varma and Nandana Sen as his muse, remains uncertain, cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan has very quietly gone and ahead and signed a Malayalam film (to be dubbed into Hindi and English) featuring himself as Raja Ravi Varma in the lead.
The Malayalam film entitled Magara Manju (winter mist) starts shooting next week Cochin. It's to be directed by the arthouse director Lenin Rajandran.
Santosh was at first hesitant to enter into a new arena at a time when his hands are full with cinematography and direction.
"But the director Rajendra Lenin convinced me I was right for the part. I've grown up on the art of Raja Ravi Varma. When I was a kid my grandmother illustrated her stories with Raja Ravi Varma's paintings. I think I've acquired my visual aesthetics from this man," says Santosh as he prepares to face the camera with the new Southern sensation Karthika.
Says Santosh, "Karthika is the daughter of the veteran Tamil actress Radha. I sort of liked the way we look together. But the main attraction for turning to acting is Raja Ravi Varma himself. I empathize very closely with his art. I also paint a bit. And I've photographed the film by M.F Husain and his son Owais. "
The film will be shot in Trivandrum, Goa and Cochin.
Incidentally, the only other occasion when Santosh Sivan has acted for the camera was in Aditya Bhattacharya's Raakh. "And after my shot, Pankaj Kapoor couldn't stop laughing," laughs Santosh.
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