Debutant Anoop Kannan’s Jawan of Vellimala, starring Mammootty in the lead, narrates the tale of a much misunderstood former soldier with a mysterious past.

It’s getting dark and the twilight casts ominous shadows on the stretch of road – a perfect setting, it seems, for the scene being shot. On location at debutant director Anoop Kannan's Jawan of Vellimala, in Ambalamedu near Kochi, Mammootty and Mamta Mohandas are walking down the road. Just a few moments before they walk past the camera, Mammootty turns his head in another direction and squints at something or someone out of frame. It could well be something that leads to a thrilling moment in the film.

Mammootty plays Gopikrishnan, a former jawan, who quit the Indian Army due to certain unexpected reasons during the Kargil War, much before his retirement age. He is now an operator at the Vellimala dam and powerhouse.

A coward?

“Villagers in Vellimala think that Gopikrishnan left the Army because he was too much of a coward to handle the War. Although he had told them of certain incidents that happened during his time in the Army that defend his actions, no one believes him and no one takes him seriously. Nevertheless, he is actively involved in issues concerning his village,” says Anoop.

Anitha (Mamta Mohandas) is the camp officer at the dam site and she is in charge of providing fresh water to the residents there. Varghese (Sreenivasan), meanwhile, is the executive engineer who is very strict. He has a daughter named Jeni (Leona), who is a student.

Koshy Oommen (Asif Ali) comes to Vellimala dam to settle some old bills.

“Vellimala is a remote village in the high ranges. The dam was built after a long campaign by the villagers, who needed it to water their fields. As a result, they are very emotionally attached to the dam. It is against this backdrop that the movie is set. It is a bit of a serious movie with some suspense elements too,” adds Anoop.

After the shot is canned, Mamta interacts with the crowd, all of who are keenly and quietly watching the proceedings. Some of them also get to click photos with her. “My character, Anitha, is a grounded young woman, who the villagers respect a good deal,” says the actor who will soon start the next schedule of Jeethu Joseph's My Boss, opposite Dileep.

Soon the action shifts to the terrace of an old building. Now it’s Asif’s turn to walk towards the screen. A couple of last minute changes and a quick rehearsal later, the unit is ready for the take.

“Koshy is pretty weird a character!” says Asif, with a laugh. “He initially comes across as a brash ‘Kottayam Achayan’ . But beneath the façade, he has some genuine issues of his own to deal with. His father had the contract to dredge mud from the dam and now Koshy is here to settle bills. If the bills get cleared, it will go a long way in solving some of his problems,” adds the actor, who was most recently seen in Bachelor Party and in a cameo in Ustad Hotel.

Jawan of Vellimala is being produced by Play House. Sateesh Kurup is the cinematographer and music has been composed by Bijibal. Stills are by Hasif Hakeem.