Debutant Anoop Kannan enters the arena of the box office with Mammootty-starrer Jawan of Vellimala, which reaches theatres today.

Anoop Kannan’s debut directorial venture, Jawan of Vellimala, narrates a former jawan’s battle to conquer his fear of the dark. Mammotty plays the hero Gopi Krishnan, a veteran of the Kargil war, who now works as a pump operator at the Vellimala dam.

“The misty hills and dales of the locale around the dam and the peculiar nature of the character played by Mammootty are the highlights of this story,” says Anoop, a former assistant of Lal Jose.

Anoop’s film is pitted against his former mentor Lal Jose’s Ayalum Njanum Thammil which also releases on the same day, October 19. “There is no competition as such and to me, his film is mine too. The pluses and minuses of my film will also directly affect him, as he taught me the craft,” says Anoop with a smile.

For Anoop, the Mammootty-starrer, which is also produced by the star’s production company Play House, is a dream come true. “I barely knew Mammookka (as Mammootty is popularly called) but he has been a pillar of support all along, both as an actor and as the producer,” gushes Anoop.

Sreenivasan, Mamta Mohandas, Asif Ali and Baburaj play significant characters in the film.

According to scenarist James Albert, Gopi has certain idiosyncrasies and that was the main inspiration for the storyline.

“Gopi is actively involved in various issues concerning the village but all his courage vanishes once darkness sets in. The dam site, where he has to work on night shifts, at times, is rumoured to be haunted, as many have committed suicide there,” narrates James. Cinebuffs will remember him as the scenarist of Classmates.

Mamta Mohandas plays Anitha, a camp officer at the dam site, who is actively involved in the welfare of those living there.

“She is pretty grounded and people in that small village respect her. The dam has an important place in the lives of the natives there,” says Mamta.

Sreenivasan’s character, Varghese, is an executive engineer who has recently taken charge at the dam site. A disciplinarian, he is vigilant all the while about the need to save power. Baburaj plays the KSEB chief engineer Chacko who comes for an inspection of the dam site.

Asif Ali dons the role of Koshy Oommen, who has come to Vellimala to settle some pending bills. Newcomer Leona Lishoy enacts Jeni, Varghese’s daughter and Koshy’s love.

Says Asif: “Koshy’s father, who had a contract for removing mud from the dam, died all of a sudden. So, Koshy, an engineering graduate, reaches the site to collect his father’s dues but he gets caught in certain issues at the dam site.”

Satheesh Kurup wields the camera. Bijibal’s songs have become quite popular even before the film’s release. Now, it is the jawan’s turn to try and win the battle of the box office.