Lal Jose’s Pullippulikalum Aattinkuttiyum tackles social issues in Kuttanad, through the tale of a hapless youth.

From Kainakary in Alappuzha district, the village of Kuttamangalam is just a short boat ride away across the rain-lashed backwaters. The shooting of director Lal Jose’s Pullippulikalum Aattinkuttiyum, with Kunchacko Boban in the lead is progressing in this slice of paradise.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, the narrow footpath on the bank of the canal that leads to the backwaters is frenetic with activity. A procession led by a local politician marches on shouting slogans demanding access to fresh water for the natives. A moment later, the procession comes to an abrupt halt. The reason: a handcart pulled by Harisree Asokan carrying Kunchacko Boban barges into them.

As the crew wait for the light to shift, Lal Jose talks about the film. “Kuttanad has undergone a definite transformation. It has changed from a primarily agrarian landscape verdant with paddy fields to a major tourist destination revolving around the backwaters. As a result local youth now dream of becoming tourist guides or chefs and drivers of houseboats that ply the backwaters, instead of toiling in the fields. This social dilemma is being dealt with in the movie through a light-hearted tale,” says the director.

It unfolds through the tale of Chakkattutharayil Gopan (Kunchacko Boban) a.k.a. Chakka Gopan. He is the sole breadwinner of the family because his three older brothers (played by Shiju, Irshad and Joju) are layabouts who are always up to no good. Invariably, Gopan becomes the scapegoat for his brothers’ misdemeanours.

Lal Jose explains the scene being shot: “Gopan is lying on the handcart after one such attack and this, incidentally, is his first scene.”

Gopan is the manager of a houseboat and to attract tourists he approaches classical dancer Kainakari Jayasree (Namitha Pramod) for help. “Jaysree agrees to perform for tourists until she gets the visa to the Gulf,” adds the director. Gopan and Jayasree share their dreams and the worries and eventually fall in love. Meanwhile, Gopan convinces his brothers to get married. “Once they are hitched, the fiery trio become as docile as lambs and Gopan finds himself having to be the fighter in the family,” says Lal Jose.

Up next is a close-up shot of Kunchacko. The actor is clad in a T-shirt and jeans and sports a thick goatee and a moustache.

“I have lived in Alappuzha for most of my life. I even have some relatives in this area. I come here at times, especially if there is some family function. I am also quite familiar with the backwaters and the operation of small boats,” says the hero, with a smile.

“My character is a rustic at heart but he is desperately trying to mould himself to suit the new lifestyle that has hit Kuttanad. He is very poor in English and what little he knows, he has learnt by heart. He has two friends to help him – cook Suseelan (Harisree Asokan) and boat driver Babu (Subeesh),” adds Kunchacko.

Harisree Asokan too seems gung ho about the film. He says: “The characters are very realistic and each scene is so natural. Even the comedy is genuine and earthy.”

Pullippulikalum Aattinkuttiyum, scripted by M. Sindhuraj, is being produced under the banner of Balcony 6 Entertainments. Cinematographer is S. Kumar and the music director is Vidyasagar. Still photographer is Momi.