V.M. Vinu’s ‘Penn Pattanam’ has a women-centric storyline with Revathy, Shwetha Menon, Vishnupriya and KPAC Lalitha in the lead.

They painted a pretty picture – four women chatting away on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, enjoying the salty breeze from the sea that's just a few yards away. Revathy, Shwetha Menon, KPAC Lalitha and Vishnupriya have some time to kill as the unit of ‘Penn Pattanam' gets ready for the next shot at the Port Office Guest House in Kozhikode. And it's not every day that the quartet gets to relax on the sets of the film that is all about them.

V.M. Vinu's new film is indeed all about women. “It is the first time that I am making a film from a woman's point of view,” says the director.

Women's perspective

Although it may not have much of star power, ‘Penn Pattanam' is an out and out commercial film, he insists. “It tells the story of four women from the working class. It is as mainstream a film as my previous films such as ‘Balettan', ‘Vesham' and ‘Bus Conductor,'” says Vinu, shortly before moving on to the next scene, in which the focus in on actor/director Lal.

Lal, still basking in the box office success of his last directorial venture 'In Ghost House Inn', plays an honest police officer. In the scene, he is seen confronting a Member of the Legislative Assembly, who barges into the police station to forcibly release some imprisoned goons.

Explains Vinu: “This scene is part of a sequence in which the four women visit the police station about an issue they are involved in. The women, Girija (Revathy), Suhara (Shwetha), Shantha (Lalitha) and Raji (Vishnupriya) are members of 'Kudumbasree' and are employed as cleaners. 'Penn Pattanam' focusses on these four women, each of whom has a tale of her own. The film takes off when they get into a spot of trouble and are forced to find a way out all by themselves.”

And the four women have great expectations about the film. “I am glad to be a part of a Malayalam film that is about women; you hardly see such films being made here these days,” says Revathy.

For Shwetha, this is her first film since winning the State award for the Best Actress. “I play a Muslim woman who marries a Hindu. It is an excellent role,” says the actor, who is recuperating from an injury she sustained during the shoot of the film.

Vishnupriya, only in her third film, says she is excited to share screen space with talented artistes like Revathy, Shwetha and Lalitha.

In khaki again

In another room, Lal is taking a close look at the script and discusses his dialogues. The tall actor, sans his usual beard, looks rather imposing as a police officer. The last time he wore khaki for a Malayalam film, he had won the State award for the Best Actor (for ‘Thalappavu').

“I have quite an interesting role in the film. I play a cop who has had to make some compromises because of political pressure. I decided to do the film because I liked its concept and thought it had the potential to do well at the box office,” says Lal.

T.A. Razak has written the screenplay based on a story by Ranjith. “Ranjith was supposed to have written the screenplay as well, but he became busy and told director Vinu that this story suited me; that's how I came into this film,” explains Razak. His previous films with Vinu (‘Vesham' and ‘Bus Conductor') were hits.

‘Penn Pattanam,' which also stars Nedumudi Venu and Kailash, is produced by Maha Subair under the banner of Varnachithra Big Screen. Sanjeev Shankar cranks camera. Lyrics by Anil Panachooran and Kaithapram have been set to tune by M.G. Sreekumar. Stills are by Prasad Sneha. ‘Penn Pattanam' will reach cinemas in July.