Sathyan Anthikkad's untitled movie has Mohanlal and Sheela playing the lead roles.
The earthy stories that director Sathyan Anthikkad narrates reflect the psyche of Malayalis. Well-fleshed out characters, topography of the place where the story has been set, and crisp dialogues bear a unique Sathyan Anthikkad imprint that strike a chord with most Malayalis. A rustic flavour is evident in many of his movies and that is obvious in the picturesque location of his latest film as well. The location is a lush green field at Vadavannur in Palakkad. The untitled film under production has Mohanlal and Sheela in lead roles, playing a doting mother and son.
“I usually start thinking like a filmmaker only when I am in the process of shooting. The rest of the time, I am an ordinary villager, a keen observer of everything happening around me. I like to handle subjects that I am comfortable with,” says Sathyan, who is also the scenarist of this film.
The story is about Ajayan (Mohanlal), who lives in an old rural tharavadu with his mother Ammukutty amma (Sheela). He used to work in the Gulf and also in Chennai for a while, before heading back home. His father died when he was a kid. Ajayan had a small factory and was active in local clubs, where he took part in some plays. Padmapriya plays Sunanda, a distant relative, who runs a small soap manufacturing unit. The cast includes Biju Menon, Innocent, KPAC Lalitha, Lena, Urmila Unni, Chembil Asokan, and Rahul Pillai.
Mohanlal reaches the milestone of 300 films with this movie.
“It has been a while since we saw Mohanlal playing a villager. Ajayan is always running away from responsibilities and that is the reason why he hasn't got married yet. An amiable man, one of his shortcomings is his tendency to brag about his flings with women during his stay in Chennai. Things take an unexpected turn when a boy reaches the village, claiming to be Ajayan's son. Even his mother starts believing the boy and Ajayan runs helter-skelter to prove his innocence… It is a comedy,” says Sathyan.
The shot being canned is for a song sequence. Mohanlal and Biju Menon, a police officer who is Ajayan's friend, plan to have some fresh toddy. When they see Sheela ambling towards them, they run for their lives and hide.
Yesteryear heart-throb Sheela, who came back to films after a break with Sathyan's ‘Manassinakkare,' says: “This role was written for me. I have put on some weight of late and that has, in fact, helped my character as well. Ammukutty amma is a bold woman, who shares a warm relationship with her son. After watching them on screen, most people would yearn for a son like Ajayan.”
How does she feel about facing the camera in an older avatar? “Each shot feels like my first shot before the camera. I pray before every shot,” she says.
The movie is being made under the banner of Ashirwad Cinemas. Cinematographer is Venu, and music director is Ilayaraja. Still photographer is Momi.