In a first, the filmmakers of recently released Malayalam film Vimaanam on Saturday announced free shows for the public across Kerala on the occasion of Christmas Day. Not just that, a part of financial proceedings generated by the film at the box office will also go to Saji Thomas, who was the inspiration for the film.
Making this announcement, actor Prithviraj Sukumaran, who has essayed the lead role in the film, said it was a way of expressing their appreciation for Saji. “Director Pradeep M Nair, producer Listin Stephen and I were discussing what we can do for Saji Thomas. When we asked Saji, he said can we facilitate him to watch this film with his friends in hometown. And we got this idea about allowing people across Kerala to watch Vimaanam for free in all theaters showing this film on Christmas day,” Prithviraj said.
“Not just that, the collection of the first show and second show of this film (from Kerala), will also be handed over to Saji,” Prithviraj said adding “it was for the first in India something like this is being done.”
Talking to The Indian Express, director Pradeep M Nair said the decision was surprising for him as well. “This is a biopic of Saji Thomas. And when we were to release the movie, his only demand was to share some free tickets for his friends and villagers to see the movie. We decided to make two shows of the movie free for entire Kerala on December 25, and the collection from two evening shows will go to Saji Thomas. This also may be a fair approach for a movie capturing the real life of a person,” he said.
Over 110 theaters are playing Vimaanam now across Kerala. While 40 percent of the profit goes to theaters, the Christmas gift for Thomas may be 60 percent of the total collection on December 25.
Saji Thomas, a deaf and mute, shot to fame by building a lightweight aircraft without the backing of the government or the private sector. Saji built the two-seater ultra-light aircraft called Saji X Air-S with the parts of vehicles and recycled materials at a cost of Rs 14 lakh.
Vimaanam captures the inspiring journey of Saji, who realised his childhood dream of building his own aircraft and flying it. The film released this week and has received positive feedback from the media and the audience.