Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukkutty has Mammootty playing an unemployed non-resident Indian who comes to Kerala to organise a cultural show in Germany featuring leading Malayalam film stars.

If the grey-bearded priest standing at the altar of St. Joseph’s Church in Kozhikode is feeling nervous about facing the movie camera, he is not showing it. He looks calm even as a song, ‘Oshana, oshana…’ plays in the background and the camera, travelling smoothly on a trolley, zooms in on his face. Also in the frame are a few altar boys in white and red. The song is played over and over as several short scenes are being taken.

Soon the day’s work is over, and director Ranjith is a happy man and is ready to talk about his new film, Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukkutty. “This is a satire set in a village in Central Travancore. This village, the inhabitants of which are mostly Christians, actually represents Kerala – politically and socially,” says the director. His previous film with Mammootty was the delightful comedy Pranchiyettan & the Saint.

Ranjith adds that his new film too would have many comic moments.

“Mammootty plays Mathukkutty who lives in Germany with his wife and children. He has been without a job for the last 18 months. That is when the unemployed Mathukkutty comes to Kerala to organise a cultural show in Germany featuring leading Malayalam film stars. He enjoys his trip to Kerala; for him it is like a parole from jail, as he has come without his family,” Ranjith elaborates.

About the scenes that have been just been shot, he says: “During this song, Mathukkutty meets his old flame, Rosy, after a long time. She is one of the chorus singers. Debutante Aleesha plays Rosy,” he adds.

Shahabaz Aman has composed the song. “The song is a typical Christian devotional song, but I have given it a melodious tinge. The song is written by Anu Elizabeth Jose,” says the singer-composer who seems to have become a regular with Ranjith. He had scored music for Indian Rupee and Spirit, both directed by Ranjith, and Bavuttiyude Namathil, which was scripted and produced by Ranjith.

Meanwhile, Mammootty, dressed in a white dhoti and a cream half-sleeved shirt, emerges from the caravan and waves to his fans, mostly women. He looks rather different sans his moustache. The scene of action shifts to a hotel at Karanthur, on the outskirts of Kozhikode, the following day. “This is a scene in which Mammootty is greeted by his friends from the village, played by Nandu and Shekhar Menon, on his arrival from Germany,” says Ranjith.

Soon everything is ready and an informally dressed Mammootty enters. He joins Nandu and Shekhar, who are already seated on the sofa. Everyone in the scene has dialogues to say and it is only after a while that Ranjith gets what he wants from the scene.

“The film has a big star cast, which includes Nedumudi Venu and Balachandra Menon, who plays a priest. Siddique, Harisree Asokan, Suresh Krishna, P. Balachandran, Balachandran Chullikad, Prem Prakash, Muthumani, Krishna Prabha and Kaviyoor Ponnamma are also there,” says Ranjth.

Madhu Neelakandan is the cinematographer. Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukkutty is produced by Prithviraj, Santhosh Sivan and Shaji Natesan under the banner of August Cinema, and will reach cinemas in August. Stills are by Paul Bathery.