Oru Indian Pranayakatha, directed by Sathyan Anthikkad, is a love story that blossoms in the backdrop of politics

Sathyan Anthikkad directs Fahadh Faasil and Amala Paul in a film scripted by Iqbal Kuttipuram. Just the credits should see this film make the box office ring loud and clear. And that is why Oru Indian Pranayakatha is keenly awaited by movie buffs as Kerala moves into vacation mode this weekend.

“It is a love story that blossoms in the backdrop of a wannabe politician’s Machiavellian moves to get the ticket to contest the election. Ayamanam Siddarth, Fahadh’s character, is a youth Congress worker who is hoping to make it big by making sure that he is seen in all the right places, especially in debates on television. However, he gets a rude shock when the vacancy caused by a local legislator’s death is filled by a minister’s daughter,” says Sathyan.

It is during that bleak juncture in his life that he meets Irene. Amala Paul’s Irene is a documentary filmmaker of Malayali origin from Canada. Siddarth starts working with her. In the meantime, the gorgeous Irene has certain other reasons for making the trip to India. However, the two fall for each other and therein lies the tale.

“I call it an Indian love story because the romance evolves in their hearts without too much of overt physical display of their deep feelings for each other,” says Sathyan.

Sathyan returns to Kottayam, where his evergreen rom-com Sasneham, was shot many years ago. As Sathyan talks about the film, it is clear that viewers can get to watch the memorable characters that populate all of Sathyan’s films. For instance, there is Uthup Vallikkadan, Innocent’s character. “He is an elderly politician who waits all evening with his make-up on because he is never sure when he might be called to participate in a talk on television,’” says Sathyan. Then there is a porter played by theatre person Gopalan, an actor par excellence.

Sathyan has clearly decided to refresh his style “without putting on the garb of a new-gen filmmaker,” says the filmmaker, who gave a completely new look to the Malayalam cinema scene with his kind of movies that infused dollops of laughter into the stories without dumbing down the theme; movies that continue to entertain film buffs some three decades later.

“However, there was a feeling I was repeating myself and so I decided to listen to that,” he says. Thus in comes cinematographer Pradeep Nair and music director Vidyasagar in the place of Ilaiyaraaja, with whom he has made 12 films. The two songs on the film have already moved up the charts. There is also a Hindi song that has been picturised in Rajasthan. “I am still an Ilaiyaraaja fan but I thought I would go in for a new team. Moreover, the song sequence in Rajasthan is not an attempt to take viewers to some picturesque locations but a significant part of the film,” adds the director.

Is there a whiff of Sandesham, a classic Sathyan Anthikkad movie that tells a tale of two brothers in opposing political camps? “No, Siddarth is a political worker. This is a contemporary tale of present-day politics in Kerala,” he adds, laughing.

He says he was eager to work with a talent powerhouse like Fahadh, whom he knew as a kid. Amala was cast for her cosmopolitan looks, talent and the fact that she was still not a very familiar face in Malayalam cinema.

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