Malayalam News

Jana Gana Mana: Prithviraj & Suraj-Starrer Not Just a Story of Two People, Says Director Dijo

Jana Gana Mana, the Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu-starrer set to hit theatres on Thursday, is “not just a story of two people,” says director Dijo Jose Antony in conversation with Silverscreen India.


This was why they decided to make the film in two instalments during the initial phases of discussion itself, the filmmaker adds. “There are so many characters connected to the story. These characters have their own stories, with several layers. Their stories need to be told. And since they can’t all be covered in one film, we decided on making a sequel. Some of the untold stories will be unravelled in the second part,” he says.

Jana Gana Mana is produced by Supriya Menon and Listin Stephen under the banners Prithviraj Production and Magical Frames, respectively. 

Dijo previously helmed Queen (2018). On how Jana Gana Mana came about, he says, “At the end of 2019, my friend and co-writer of Queen, Sharis Mohammed, called me up for a meeting at our usual hangout spot. He gave a five-minute narration of a story idea and I was sold. The core subject was so good that I decided that Jana Gana Mana had to be made, and that’s how the film took off. Interestingly, a few years back, Sharis had given me a similar five-minute narration of an idea that eventually turned into Queen.

After a lot of discussion and work, the team completed the script a few months before the Covid-19 pandemic. The director adds that he first pitched it to Suraj and Mamta Mohandas. After they both came on board, he then sent the synopsis to Prithviraj, who was filming for Aadujeevitham at the time.

“When Prithviraj came back to India during a break in Aadujeevitham’s shoot, I narrated the script to him. He liked it and agreed to be a part of the film,” Dijo recalls.

This was around the time when the Covid-19 restrictions were put in place. “But we did not shelve the project. With the support of the production team, we charted out plans to pull off Jana Gana Mana, adhering to the strict Covid-19 guidelines. I dedicated one year and four months to the film. We shot the film over 80 days in places like Kerala, Lucknow, Mangalore, and Mysore, in about six or seven schedules.”


On naming the film Jana Gana Mana (‘minds of all people’), drawn from the beginning of India’s national anthem, Dijo notes that the phrase symbolises the collective consciousness of a group of people and it is apt for the film which features several characters and their emotions. “I have also kept Mahatma Gandhi’s quote – ‘In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place’ – in many segments of the film, as it directly relates to the story. Moreover, the title is also suggests that this is a film that needs to be watched as a crowd in theatres, to resonate with all the emotions it portrays.” 

The filmmaker calls Jana Gana Mana an ‘entertainer’ primarily, and says it has all the elements of a socio-political thriller. Dijo also notes that the film includes a cast drawn from different age-groups, and adds, “It will resonate with different audiences, as the subject is one that can connect with people beyond language and cultural barriers. Hence, it will also be released in Tamil, Kannada, and Telugu, aside from Malayalam.”