Priyadarshan and Mohanlal get together for a no-holds-barred entertainer called ‘Arabiyum Ottakavum P. Madhavan Nairum in Oru Marubhoomi Katha.'

Mohanlal strolls towards the set dressed in a lungi and a shirt, and the change is electrifying. Mobile phones flash; a buzz arises among star struck fans who move a little closer to get a better look at the actor; crew members jump into action, and veteran cinematographer Azhagappan moves behind the camera for the shot to be canned. Oblivious to all the frenetic action around him, Mohanlal reaches the set, and listens keenly as he is told about the shot, his dialogues, and his actions.

As the lights are switched on, Mohanlal goes through his paces with ease and the shot is okayed for a scene that is being filmed for ‘Arabiyum Ottakavum P. Madhavan Nairum in Oru Marubhoomi Katha,' scripted and directed by Priyadarshan.

The title is quite a mouthful as it had be to changed after some objection was raised to the original title of ‘Arabiyum Ottakavum P. Madhavan Nairum.' It is the last day of the shooting for the movie that has been filmed extensively in Abu Dhabi.

Linking shots

The scene that was just canned shows Mohanlal in a moving lift. Thanks to modern technology and the camera, all that is needed on the set is a row of switches on a wooden panel, which gives the illusion of the interiors of a lift in a high rise.

“A few linking shots are necessary and that is what we are doing today,” says Azhagappan as he points to the props that have been kept ready on the studio floor of Chitranjali Studio in Thiruvananthapuram.

He narrates that they plan to show Mukesh and Mohanlal engaged in a tussle. “Mohanlal has Mukesh hanging at the end of a rope and threatens to throw him from the balcony of a high-rise. Since it is dangerous to shoot that from an actual building, we are going to do it here,” explains Azhagappan.

While Priyadarshan takes a breather in between the shots, he talks about the film that was in the news much before the shooting began, reuniting as it does the iconic duo of Priyadarshan and Mohanlal. He says it is the pressure of fans and friends that has motivated him to make “a comedy with Wodehousian complexities.” Priyadarshan emphasises that his aim is to make fun films sans double entendres and vulgarity. “I want to make films that a family can watch together without embarrassment.

“It is an out-and-out entertainer. Madhavan Nair, Mohanlal's character, is a hard working employee working in Abu Dhabi and Mukesh's character is his friend. All the action in Madhavan Nair's life unfolds over four days. It is a series of incidents, each more hilarious than the other,” says Priyadarshan, perhaps the most successful director, in terms of reach and commercial rating, that Malayalam cinema has produced.

The comfort level is palpable as the two childhood friends interact. “Leave your brains at home and enjoy the film,” grins the director as Mohanlal, with a broad smile, adds that it is a typical ‘Priyan film' with laughter, good music and clean entertainment. “It is always a pleasure to work with a team that you have known for years. Mukesh and I have several hits to our credit and we have an empathy that comes from working together on several movies,” admits the actor.

Bhavana, Laxmi Rai, Innocent, Mamukkoya and others star in ‘Oru Marubhoomi….'

M.G. Sreekumar scores the music for the film that is being produced by Ashok Kumar, a college mate of the director-actor duo, and Navin Sashidharan. If all goes well, the film should reach theatres in November.