Written and directed by debutant Suresh Mari, J Baby is produced by filmmaker Pa Ranjith under his Neelam Productions banner, in association with Golden Ratio and Little Red Car. It is one of the five films, including the previously released Writer, that Neelam is producing in collaboration with these two banners.
It is notable that Ranjith made his directorial debut with the Dinesh-starrer Attakathi, which earned the actor his prefix.
Suresh, an erstwhile associate of director Venkat Prabhu on films like Chennai 600028, Saroja, and Goa (which Ranjith also assisted), Mankatha, and Biriyani, has previously worked with Ranjith as a co-director in Kabali and Kaala.
Speaking to Silverscreen India about J Baby, Suresh says, “It will be a family drama that revolves around the bond between a mother and her sons, and that between the brothers. There will be elements of comedy, action, and strong emotions in the film.”
Urvashi plays the titular mother. She gets lost and her sons, played by Dinesh and Maran, go in search of her, the filmmaker adds. The story takes place in both Chennai and Kolkata.
Talking about casting the three actors, Suresh says, “I couldn’t have found anyone better than Urvashi ma’am to take on this role, as she can adapt well to all genres, even comedy. Dinesh has a sense of innocence to him and he is an excellent actor. Maran is often seen in comic roles, so I thought it would be different to cast him in a more serious character role.”
Aside from the three main actors, the film will feature several fresh faces, the director notes.
J Baby went on floors in Chennai in 2021 and was wrapped up in October.
Cinematographer Jayanth Sethu Mathavan tells us that most of the film was shot in live locations. “This meant we could not go for many retakes. However, the actors cooperated a lot and we had many rehearsals during the pre-production with the cast members. During this time, we decided on basic camera movements, which was very helpful for the actual shoot,” the technician notes.
Talking further about the cinematography, Jayanth says, “We have tried to incorporate more of an observational approach with realistic shots. Since the film involves travel, most of the scenes feature handheld shots, so that it looks like the camera is travelling with them. In terms of lighting, we have used the light available on location rather than anything stylised in order to go with the mood of the story.”
Of the two cities featured in the film, Jayanth says the portions shot at Kolkata will have a slightly warmer tone. And the crowded and urban nature of the two places has been highlighted, he adds.
With music by Tony Britto and editing by Shanmugam Velusamy, J Baby is currently in post-production. The film is expected to have a theatrical release this summer.