Four releases, including two featuring the superstars, reach theatres for the Christmas season. The theme of the films range from suspense and action to family drama and romance.

Christmas releases in Mollywood are keenly awaited as the holiday season sees families making a beeline to theatres. This time, around four releases will test their luck at the box office. As usual, there is a clash of the titans of Malayalam cinema – Mammootty and Mohanlal – who have a release each. G.S. Vijayan’s Bavuttiyude Namathil and Major Ravi’s Karmayodha are the films starring Mammootty and Mohanlal respectively. Then there is young Turk Aashiq Abu’s Da Thadiya, and in-form director B.Unnikrishnan’s I Love Me, starring a trio of young stars. The directors talk about their Christmas offering…

The fun factor

After two back-to-back hits (Salt N' Pepper and 22 Female Kottayam), Aashiq Abu is expected to deliver a hit each time he makes a film. He is now ready with Da Thadiya, one of the most eagerly awaited films in recent times. The film, produced by Anto Joseph Film Company, narrates the love story of the obese Luke John Prakash, enacted by DJ Sekhar Menon.

“Expectations are bound to be there when you are successful and I am not really worried about it all. Each viewer will have a different kind of expectation and satisfying all could be quite challenging,” says Aashiq. He says that Da Thadiya is meant to be entertaining. “We have clearly conveyed that aspect through the promotional campaigns and posters. We have also deliberately pitched the film in a different pattern, unlike say 22 Female Kottayam. The song ‘Enthaanu bhai…’ highlights the attitude, and, to a certain extent, the subject of the film as well. We find people of all sizes, shapes and looks around us and the song asks what is the problem in being different? Everyone has a right to live happily and peacefully,” says the director.

He is not perturbed by allegations that the song has been inspired by Sneha Khanwalkar's song ‘Yere…’. “I prefer not to respond to such allegations. I want the listeners to decide for themselves. Our song has been electronically created for the film, while ‘Yere…’ has original sounds,” he says. The cast includes Nivin Pauly, Sreenath Bhasi, Ann Augustine, Arundhati Nag, Maniyanpillai Raju and Edavela Babu. Music director is Bijibal.

Family guy

He directed the sensitive Ghoshayathra and the hilarious Aanavalmothiram, but G.S. Vijayan hasn’t directed a feature film for 12 years. He is breaking the long spell of silence with Bavuttiyude Namathil, which is written by Ranjith.“I have been waiting for a script to make a film that is clean and that can entertain the entire family. I was delighted when Ranjith came up with the script of Bavuttiyude Namathil and decided to produce it himself,” says Vijayan. He adds the film is about Bavutti, the driver of a wealthy family. “He is in fact much more than a driver; he solves several problems of the family. He is very much part of the family,” the director explains.

Mamootty plays Bavutti. “Mammootty was the hero of my first film, Charithram (1989), and it felt great working with him after so many years; he always gives the director what is expected of him. I was working with Kavya Madhavan for the first time and she has done a fine job. The film has a large cast, that includes Vineeth, Shankar Ramakrishnan and Kaniha,” says Vijayan. He says too much is made of the changes that are taking place in Malayalam cinema now. “There have always been films in Malayalam like the one that are being celebrated these days. Yes, our cinema needs to change according to time, but that does not mean that we should move away from our culture,” he says.

An emotional thriller

For the first time, filmmaker B. Unnikrishnan directs a film that has not been scripted by him. His latest film, I Love Me, scripted by Sethu is an “emotional roller coaster of a thriller”. Explaining the reasons for his decision, he says: “That is because I enjoyed the story that Sethu narrated to me. Moreover, I was looking for an opportunity to work with young actors and this script seemed just right for such an outing. Writing and directing can be tedious and time-consuming and I wanted to take a break from the responsibility of doing both.”

Unnikrishnan, who is riding high on the success of his previous film, Grandmaster, says the film is about the adventures of three youngsters who embark on a mission on the directions of a mastermind who is using them for his own ends. Shot in Vietnam, Bangkok and Kochi, the film stars Asif Ali, Unni Mukundan and Isha Talwar as the three adventurers while Anoop Menon plays the puppet master who pulls the strings. Deepak Dev’s compositions have been sung by Benny Dayal, Karthik and Swetha.

Action-packed

Major Ravi believes in action. “These days we come across several reports where young children are abducted and abused. Through my film Karmayodha, I would like to convey the message to each parent that it is his/her responsibility as well to take care of the kids, along with the police,” says the soldier- turned-filmmaker, who has made some hits mainly with the army as the backdrop.

“Madhava Menon a.k.a. Mad Maddy, the character played by Mohanlal, is an encounter specialist who dares to take decisions on the spot, without always waiting for orders from the top. My films have always highlighted patriotism and have been eye-openers to society and the government,” he says.

Sai Kumar, Mukesh, Janardhanan and Asha Sarath are in the cast. Music director is M.G. Sreekumar.

Mohanlal has featured in most of his films and Major Ravi feels that it is the mutual admiration between the two that works to the advantage of the film. “We have been friends even before I started directing him. I am a huge fan of his and he admires me for being a dedicated commando,” he explains.

He denies reports that his film has been inspired from the Liam Neeson starrer, Taken. “It's actually funny that some have jumped into immediate conclusions, as this story is also about abduction. But then there have been several films made across the world with abduction as the basic plot,” he says