God’s Own Malayalis: Sajid Yahiya – The Man Who Finds Positivity In Everything

Very rarely do we come across people who’re high on life and who reeks of positivity. One does wonder how they happen to be happy with what life has to offer. When I first had the opportunity to interact with Indian film actor and director Sajid Yahid, I could feel his enthusiasm in wanting to share his story. Having acted in and directed various notable movies in Malayalam cinema, Sajid owes up to title he calls himself ‘cinema pranthan’. 

One thing that caught our attention is how he stays true to his beliefs, including when he reviews movies on his channel Cinema Pranthan. He only talks of the good aspects of the movie, leaving out any flaws because, according to him, there’s a struggle behind crafting a script and making it into a fully fledged movie. Appreciating that aspect becomes more important than passing negative remarks devoid of truly understanding what goes behind the scenes. Over the years, he has grown to become a better actor, director, and most importantly, a visualist who inspires conversations through the art of storytelling. His secret lies in finding clarity and inspiration in day-to-day affairs and creating memorable moments that’s etched in his views about life.

His next movie is a romance drama titled “QALB”. It’s an intense love story starring well-known actor Shane Nigam. The shoot of the movie will commence soon at Alappuzha. In case you’re wondering what to expect, the movie will be a complete entertainer and with spectacular visual imagery. The music is great. He is excited to bring such a beautiful story on screen.

Sajid Yahiya spoke to PinkLungi about what defines his identity, thoughts, and expressions. Take a look!

Which 3 movies, released in 2019, did you like the most?

I’m an avid movie lover, three movies is way less a number because I have plenty favourite movies that were released this year. The one significant movie which touched my heart was Jallikattu By Lijo Jose Pellissery. As we all know, Lijo is a cracker jack. The movie is too good to be true. I had the chance to see it in a private screening and I was awed by the way it was made.

Kumbalangi Nights is one such movie that I adored completely. Such a gem of a movie. It’s very difficult to convey such a story to the audience, but because of its brilliant direction, it carved out its own niche. Screenplay by Shyam Pushkaran, Direction Madhu C. Narayan and Sushin’s music was just amazing. Lovely performances by Shane, Soubin, and Bhasi. 

Unda captivated my mind in a spectacular manner. No one has seen that kind of setting that was executed in the movie. Such brilliant performance by Mammuka and fantastic direction by Khalid Rahman. 

Lucifer is this larger than life, mass execution of a brilliant plot. Such an endearing passionate performance by Lalettan, all thanks to its brainchild, Prithviraj. For a superstar to leave all that comforts and manoeuvre the wheel of a movie is exceptional. 

Tamasha too, handled a very severe issue which needed to be told in the current society. Vinay Forrt’s performance was hands down mind blowing.

What are your hobbies? 

I absolutely love the ocean. I pretty much spend my time travelling and being lazy on the beach. I gather so much energy from the ocean. Love the waves and positive vibes near a beach. I have a small place near the beach in Alleppey in my hometown, which is my hideout. I also love kayaking and off road driving. 

What are the 3 things that most people do not know about you? 

  1. That I was an engineer by profession. 

2. That I don’t do any kind of intoxicants 

3. That I have three kids 

What’s the one question that people ask you often?

People often ask me what I get high on. All I say is that I get high on life. Life is so intricately beautiful. Each moment is so precious and we have to live it at its best

If you had to recommend 5 Malayalam movies to someone who is new to watching Malayalam movies, which ones would you recommend?

I love all the classics of Malayalam Cinema. Our movie industry picks up the best content in the country. So it’s difficult to gather a few. But I love all Padmarajan movies. Malayalam fantasy at its best, he had carved out a higher level of grandeur to Malayalam cinema. 

Spadikam – for weaving such an emotional connect. Likewise, Keeredam also tops the list.

Samrajyam – for bringing out the gangster in you.

Mayaanadhi – for the new age romance which portrays subtlety in a beautiful manner.

Videeyan, which is obviously a world classic and our pride.

Who would you say is your role model?

My father who is an absolute hero, a true ground fighter. He has been my biggest inspiration. 

How has the journey been from a reviewer, to an actor, to a director? What challenges did you face along the way? 

It’s like stages in a video game with Beginner, Easy, Hard levels to surpass. You have to gather more information on-the-go and upgrade yourself and the skills you have. Challenges are inevitable, they come as they go. It’s like a wave, for every downside there is always a wave that always goes up. Similarly life goes on. What we have to do is accept the good and bad and bring out the best possible version of ourselves. As a reviewer, I try to see the positive side of all the films that gets produced and released. It’s very easy to be an armchair critic but when you are actually involved in the process of making a film, you tend to appreciate the efforts, the sacrifices people make, and the huge amount of passion involved in each work. As an actor, the challenge is to deliver what a director expects you to be and, at the same time, try to bring out something different from your previous role. It’s a very personally enriching experience. 

As a director, the biggest challenge is to hold the set together. You are going to work with 150 plus people and the crowd of onlookers for a period of 40- 50 days. There are issues from mood swings to bad weather that needs to be confronted everyday. It’s so hard to stay focused, not lose cool and t to motivate yourself and all your cast and crew. 

Has your perspective about filmmaking changed after becoming a director? Do you appreciate the craft of filmmaking a little more as the proverbial captain of the ship? 

Oh yes I do. Before getting involved in the art of filmmaking, you tend to blame everything on the script but after directing a few films , you know that each and every intricate detail plays a huge factor in the process of filmmaking. Movies are stories that move in live action. I appreciate every step of its making. It’s been a blessing. 

You’ve chosen to put only positive reviews and if the review is negative, you choose not to post it on cinema pranthan. Why is that the case? 

Like I said , I have worked for so many films, in various different capacities. Actor, Director , executive producer, film promoter , singer and songwriter, you name it. After being associated with it for so long, I know the struggles, hardships and efforts people put behind each project. Most of the time, the audience is merciless when it comes to a bad film so the least I could do is not to say anything negative about their effort. If I can’t praise it, I keep my mouth shut. 

Three Kerala dish you’d love to have everyday 

1.Porotta and Beef

2.Prawns Fry

3.Palada Payasam 

Three things you like and dislike about Malayalis

 Likes 

1. We can blend into any culture, in any society. Ass they say, there is a mallu who greeted Neil Armstrong during his visit to the moon. 

2. Our pluralism, our tolerance on religions and acceptance to new ideas. 

3. Our great education system. 

Dislike 

1. Our strikes and lockdowns 

2. Our procrastination 

3. Our attitude towards women 

Aishwarya Gopinathhttps://pinklungicom.wordpress.com/
A foodie at heart, an aspiring novelist, and an enthusiastic writer by nature, I love to dig deep into culture and lifestyle of the place and people around me. I hope to make people cry, laugh, smile, angry, and satisfied with my writing.

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