Vineeth Sreenivasan's latest directorial venture "Jacobinte Swargarajyam" (JSR) or "Jacob's Kingdom of Heaven" has been garnering tremendous response from movie-goers across the world, calling the flick one of the best family entertainers in recent times.
The movie, starring Nivin Pauly, Renji Panicker and Lakshmy Ramakrishnan in main roles, narrates the real-life story of an NRI family settled in Dubai. "JSR" shows the bonding of Jacob Zacharia (Renji) and his family who stayed united at times when they faced a major financial crisis. The movie shows the efforts of Jerry (Nivin), along with his mother (Lakshmy), to bring back their family to a normal life.
Also read: Meet real-life heroes of JSR
The emotionally roller-coaster ride movie had its premiere in the U.A.E on May 4. After watching the movie on the big screen on Wednesday, Gregory Jacob (Jerry in the movie), who is the real-life inspiration behind "Jacobinte Swargarajyam," talked with International Business Times, India, to share his feelings and excitement on watching the biopic based on his real life.
International Business Times: Finally, after one month of "JSR" release, you watched your own life story on the big screen. How do you feel?
Gregory: I am having mixed emotions and I am honoured to see my life on the big screen. I was really touched during some of the scenes, especially the moments shared by the father and son. I am really surprised to know how good observer Vineeth is; he has added even the smallest details of our conversation in the movie. The movie is a simple tribute -- its about friendship, family values and so many other things. I see this as a message to many people who don't care about their responsibilities and neglect their family.
IBT: Did the reel life did justice to your real life story?
Gregory: I can never complain. This honour is far beyond than what we can comprehend or contain. The real life situation is always intense and much more worrying than what it was on the screen. And living through it was actually like a hell, but God has been so kind to us and also helped us abundantly.
IBT: Now, what do you have to tell to the entire team of "JSR"?
Gregory: Honestly, there is nothing I can tell Vineeth. Even when I called him this morning, I had no words to tell him. What surprised me the most is how each one, be it Vineeth, Shaan or Noble, they have whole-heartedly worked to make this movie as a tribute to their friend. I am really humbled and honoured by what they have done because only great minds can do this. I know I am acting a little silly and philosophical. Seriously, my mind is not in it's place now.
IBT: What was your initial reaction when Vineeth Sreenivasan informed you of making your real life story as a movie?
Gregory: Vineeth told me about the plan when I visited Kerala in 2014. Vineeth and his wife Divya came from Chennai and told me these words while we were on a drive. "I have been planning something in my mind for a very long time and it is a story based on your life. I have tried to give many names, but the title that fits the best is Jacobinte Swargarajyam. Can I make this film about your family?" At that moment tears rolled down my eyes and that was my very first reaction.
Here is JSR review
IBT: Throughout the scripting and filming, did you assist him or give any suggestions regarding the casting?
Gregory: No. I was never there. In fact, Vineeth never allowed me to come close. He always asked me to wait patiently until I watch it on the big screen. I haven't given any feedback on the scripting too. The kind of trust I have placed in Vineeth is something I can't put in words. He is not just a friend, he is my family.
I didn't even give any suggestion about the casting, but whenever Vineeth had to decide an actor for a particular character, he would say that to us and we all just prayed. I guess the most difficult part was to find the apt actor to do mom's character. He had an idea on who must do the other roles, and Aima Sebastian and Stacen were auditioned later.
IBT: Through the characters Jacob, Sherly, Jerry, Abin, Ammu and Chris, each member of your family is very close to our hearts now. What are your siblings up to?
Gregory: My brother and me are into business. My sister has completed the MBBS course and my youngest brother is in grade nine.