24 April 2019. Pre-production meet.
Film project Barroz started with a suggestion by Rajeev Kumar to Mohanlal that this published novel can be adapted for a screen-narrative. Infact, Mohanlal liked it so much that he volunteered to direct it as well !
It was my apprehension that the character Barroz being an Afrikaner, Mohanlal would be ill-suited to play the title role.
But, with his academic strengths on history and malayalam literature, our Research Director - Josey Joseph, re-characterized Barroz as a mid-17th century malabari 'keeper of the mansion keys' in service of Admiral Cristavao D'Gama of Goa.
Also, to suit the protagonist, Josey and Rajeev asked me to write out a screen-treatment from the point of view of the treasure guarding ghost; instead from that of the 12 year old heiress.
That was a crucial change from the original story. In effect, the film now became ....
The fantasy of a treasure-guarding-ghost who thinks that the long awaited heiress has come
rather than .....
The fantasy of a girl who thinks that there exists a ghost, guarding a treasure for her.
The Script was fully story-boarded* to enable Mohanlal (for me, he is Lalumon) for directing the film without being overtly concerned about the 3D aspects of shot framing. Under the leadership of Stereographer Nambiathiri, the entire team of HODs collaborated in finalising the story-board illustrations even before the film went to the sets. Scripting AD Althaf Hussein's efforts in this need a special mention here.
*except for a couple of scenes where emotional interaction of the characters would decide the shot division.
Jijo. April 2019. Kochi
Nambiathiri & RK, discussing shot framing and story-board with the Director, as Sanilkumar (CA) looks on.
Anil Madhavan. Motivator
Prime Motivator Swapna David.
Illustrations by RK.
Layout by Radhika Varma
Reviewing pre-visulisation videos
for production planning.
Sidhu Panakkal, Jijo
Antony Perumbavoor, Prithviraj, Mohanlal
Prakash Moorthy, Aswini Kaul, Sheker.
The fireflies metaphor and imagery in the film, was a suggestion made by Mohanlal.
This is a marked departure from the original Barroz novel.
(Concept below left - Oil on canvas by RK. below right - Digital rendition by Sethu Sivanandan)
Aashirvad Production Team's organisational
capability calls for a special mention here
06 April 2021. On sets erected at CIAL runway apron
Reciting the classic lines, Isa steps down the ladder ...
". . . Alice had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat pocket or a watch to take out of it. Burning with curiosity, Alice ran after it to see the rabbit pop down a large rabbit hole . . ."
"Yes, the wonderland . . !
Here goes . . . !!"
She jumps down.
G I M (Global Investors Meet) GOA
Layout, Set Design & 3D Modelling
by Barroz Art Dept.
Amal as Chotta
César Lorente Ratón as Mendoza
Prithviraj as Ron Madhav
Padmavati Rao as Susan Mathew
Shayala Mcfree as Isa/ Isabella
Rafael Garcia as D'Gama
& Blanca Esther Ezama as Theresa
posing for portrait
17th Century D'Gama family portrait for film Barroz by RK
Voodoo Doll, the animated character
VFX Supervisor - Bradley Cadman
Efforts by Studio Exec Tiju Kurian & Casting AD Jensen Zacharia need a special mention here.
Hymn in Portuguese for the inaugural prayer.
Nadia Rebelo - Goan Fadista who with her Fado songs has won many hearts in Goa and Portugal.
Of course, the audience were
standing during the prayer.
EXTERIOR. MANSION GROUNDS - NIGHT
A carnival is in full swing. People are dressed in 1600 era costume.
Coming out, Barroz is happy to see all that.
He feels they are there to receive him.
Voooo finds that trying to talk sense to Barroz is of no avail.
From afar, Barroz sees a galleon approach.
On the deck there stands his Master D'Gama!
My lord has kept his promise… see
him arrive in all glory…
Barroz kneels in salutation.
That's when he notices that the galleon has wheels beneath, and that it is only a carnival float!
Barroz also realises that D'Gama is an impostor ... a country bum dressed up in his Lord's attire.
Adding insult to injury, there is also a 'Barroz look-alike' standing behind D'Gama.
The fake Barroz, holding a chest titled "TRESHURE" (sic), is doling out candies from his box to the hooting public.
Barroz is shattered !!
Suddenly the sky lights up with fireworks. 'Welcome to 2022' announces the display. People chant 'Happy New Year'.
Barroz realises that he is now in a new world,
in a new era.
I am sorry Barroz... Nobody can see you… you are a ghost...
also, realise, many years have passed...
in fact, centuries... this is year 2022 !!
story board illustration by BAIJU
story board illustration by BAIJU
Lyrics - Vinayak Sasikumar
Music - Lydian Nadaswaram
EXT / WATER BODY / DAY
A 14 storey high cruise ship is seen crossing the water channel.
Meanwhile, both Barroz and Isa are walking towards the bollard.
A silver fish jumps up to peck on Isa's foot. She leaps back giggling.
She looks down to see schools of colored fish swirling around them.
She bursts out laughing !!
Looking up, she sees seagulls hovering around. She pauses for a moment to savour the moment, closes her eyes and breathes deep.
Suddenly, 'bloop ... splash'. Isa slips, falls and goes under water ... Scattering the school of fishes!
Helped by Barroz, she emerges and comes up sputtering...
Furious, Isa spits out ...
Bloody Oaf ! You did that on purpose !!
EXT / CRUISE SHIP
DECK / EVENING
Bloody Oaf ! You did that on purpose !!
Isa comes out of water abusing Barroz …
but she emerges completely wet from the swimming pool at the top deck of the 14 storey cruise ship.
The guests and Isa herself, are surprised.
Ron is on the stage, addressing the guests.
He gesticulates to his stewards .. and they escort away an embarrassed, wet and dripping Isa.
Shayala, with Samhita Arni advising on the Script .
INTERIOR. D'GAMA MANSION HALL.
PRESS CONFERENCE - DAY
The minister gets up
I affirm the Govt.'s intention to build a Casino here.
In style and quality it would rival the ones at Las Vegas.
This D'Gama mansion shall be demolished... but,
Goa will turn into a tourist paradise.
Meanwhile, confident that nobody can see him,
Barroz is placing a marble under the minister's empty chair.
As he does that, Barroz notices Isa ....
sitting in the second row,
her face from nose down covered by the chair
She has one of Barroz's marble in her hand and
there she is .. ..
Looking directly at Barroz! - curious, as
to what he is upto.
Barroz turns around to make sure that
there is no one behind him whom Isa is staring at.
No, nobody there!
Yes, surely, she is looking at Barroz.
Barroz realises that Isa can see him.
Isa points at Barroz and shouts loudly.
I saw it. I saw you do that!
You filthy old dog!
Barroz panics. Barroz runs out of the hall.
Don't let him go. He is the rogue…
he did it!
Isa runs towards Barroz…
camera jib down
story board illustration by BABURAJ
EXTERIOR. MANSION GATE - DAY
At the gate, Barroz turns around to see Isa right behind him.
Thinking that its better to make himself scarce ....
Barroz takes off ....
.... only to step on a banana peel thrown by a litterer.
Ha Haa !! .... exults Isa, seeing justice served to the prankster.
But, instead of the expected fall, the aged ghost glides-off on the peel...
.... as if it were a magic carpet !
Undeterred, Isa pulls out her own transport - the skateboard ....
... to put a stop to the prankster's any future misdeed.
And she gives chase .....
story board illustration by ALICE CHEEVEL
CHASE part V
Barroz on Bike
Isa on Cycle
Bradley Cadman (VFX Designer) and Rekha Kalra (VFX Coordinator)
listening to Action Choreographer J.J. (Jakkrit Kanokpod Jananon)
on how, instead of deploying VFX, he would execute Isa chasing Barroz across the canal ... in a live shot.
Chase Previz - Althaf Husein on Patto bridge.
Taking drone shots for Execution plan
Engineering Design - Kishkinta
CHASE part IV
Parkour. Isa chases Barroz across Fontainhas. Illustrations by Sethu Sivanandan
Action Choreographer J.J. ascertaining GPS Coordinates at Fontainhas - with reference to Nambiathiri's frames in the storyboard.
CHASE part II
At the St. Pedro Ferry Terminal
J.J., Sasidharan and Althaf. Planning drone shots for the chase sequence at the ferry.
CHASE part III
OFF-THE-SCREEN 3D SHOT
ACTLAB Session. Sept 2019
Coaching Isa/ Isabella on cultural appropriateness.
Sajeev Nambiyath & team
Script Development Session. Jan 2020
Deliberations to fathom Isa's mind.
Script Advisors. Revathy Suresh, Maya Mohanlal
Dr. C. J. John.
Psychiatrist, Media Advisor, Writer.