Honey Bee, directed by debutant Lal Jr., is a spirited romantic thriller about a bunch of friends who live life to the hilt.
The narrow road in Mattanchery that leads to Fort Kochi looks absolutely deserted on a ‘hartal’ day, none of the usual bustle of the busy market place is there. In contrast, near an old building at a corner of the market place, there is a frenzy of activity as the filming of Honey Bee, the big screen debut of director Lal Jr., son of actor-director Lal, is in progress.
The rickety wooden stairs that lead to the rooftop of the building looks gloomy, even when the sun is still shining bright. But step out onto the terrace and the view is simply breathtaking… the glistening backwaters, boats – country boats and fishing vessels – gliding to and fro, the Chinese fishing nets, and charming old-world buildings, all of which give a quaint feel to the frame.
“Honey Bee is a colourful and humorous romantic thriller about a group of friends who hail from Kochi. They are part of a song and dance band. Sebastian (Asif Ali), Angel (Bhavana), Fernando (Baburaj), Abu (Sreenath Bhasi) and Ambross (Balu) are the members of the group. Sara (Archana Kavi) is Ambross’ sister. The friends enjoy life to the hilt and things take an unexpected turn after an incident that happens during a party,” says Lal Jr., whose original name is Jean Paul.
A modestly decorated room that leads to the terrace serves as Sebastian’s living quarters in the film. It is also the band’s main hangout. For the day’s shoot, the terrace has been decorated with colourful lights and as twilight gives way to night, a party is all set to begin. When the director calls for action, the camera zooms in on a bottle. Then all the artistes quickly take their places.
“If at all I am nervous it is because I have to live up to expectations. I am influenced by my dad’s style of filmmaking, where he narrates serious themes with a tinge of humour. The dialogues and styling will be younger, in accordance with my age,” says the writer-director, who won much appreciation for his short film Debt.
Lal, who is playing a wealthy and powerful antagonist named Michael in the film, seems to be excited about his son’s debut as a director. “He turns to me for advice at crucial junctures but I feel he is quite confident for a debutant,” says Lal.
Asif also looks happy about his character. “Sebastian is a mechanic for whom friends mean the world. Just like most of the youngsters in the area, he likes to dress up well and speaks with that peculiar Kochi accent.”
Leading lady Bhavana says her character Angel is smart and outspoken. She adds that she is pretty choosy about her roles in Malayalam and that is the reason why she is not seen often on screen. “Last year I did Ozhimuri and Trivandrum Lodge, which were appreciated, and those are the kinds of films that I plan to do from now on. I am also quite busy in Kannada.” Baburaj, who looks right at home with the young cast, says: “My character, Fernando, is a grounded guy. He is the senior-most member of the gang. He is a drummer who is concerned about his health and broods a lot.”
Honey Bee is being produced by Sibi Thottupuram and Jobi Mundamattom, under the banner of SJM Entertainments. Cinematographer is Alby and the music director is Deepak Dev.