As for Akaasha Gopuram, the story goes thus: A landed immigrant, Albert Samson undergoes all kinds of hassles, going from pillar to post to make both ends meet. Eventually, he is given a break by Abraham, formerly an expert mason. The cycle of fate begins to change. Doors open wide for Samson, who quickly scales the ladders of success. He becomes a renowned architect in England, his expertise in the construction of towers and high-rise buildings leading to him being called 'Master Builder.'
Then, the cycle changes again. Bad days return and his personal life begins to erode. We have to wait for the film to find out what happens next.
Mohanlal, the superstar, enacts the role of Albert Samson, the character based on Ibsen's Halvard Solness. When I ask him about it, he says he was only too happy to accept the role, as it was better than the 'supernatural' offers he kept getting. I tell him that Amitabh Bachchan recently referred to him as one of India's most talented actors, but he just smiles in response.
Sreenivasan, the comedian king of Malayalam cinema, takes on the role of Dr Issac, another important character. While he would be extremely busy in India, the actor finds time to sit and chat here. He has a pack of jokes, but they are only for those familiar to him.
Shweta Menon plays Alice Samson, while other actors who appear include Bharat Gopi and Manoj K Jayan. Nitya Menon, a new face, plays the heroine Hilda, with Geetu Mohandas acting as Catherine. Santosh Thundiyil -- who wielded the camera for Krrish, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Pinjar -- is in charge of cinematography.
K P Kumaran says he is happy he could bring this film in 2006 -- the death centenary of Henrik Ibsen. Mohanlal is also overwhelmed with his role of a smug man living in fear of a younger generation usurping his place. According to him, Albert Samson is manipulative, yet capable of a grand gesture.
Needless to say, the audience awaits.
-Suresh Nellikode in London