Director Arun Kumar Aravind’s new film Left Right Left, starring Indrajith and Murali Gopi in the lead, is a ‘social thriller’ that talks about how childhood shapes our personalities.

There are no sounds of marching bands on the set of director Arun Kumar Aravind’s new film Left Right Left nor is there the pitter-patter of feet, as you would expect from the film’s teaser trailer that was released on YouTube. Instead, there are only the hushed sounds of an outpatient (OP) facility, on the fourth floor of a building at NIMS Hospital, Neyyattinkara, Thiruvananthapuram, the location for the day.

In fact, if not for the movie camera placed right next to the entrance and a few dozen crew members, including young cinematographer Shehnad Jalal, busy at work framing the scene, one would mistake the set for just another OP, complete with patients, visitors, nurses, and doctors.

While the make-up men do some last-minute touch-up on actors Lena and Murali, Arun, seated in front of a portable flat-screen monitor, is surrounded by the assistant directors and cameramen waiting for last minute instructions. Arun points to an artiste sitting in the back row of chairs and tells his assistants that he wants her to be texting rather than speaking on the phone during the shot. “Oh! I think she’s attending a personal call, never mind,” he says with a laugh. Arun also wants a large prop – a signboard of the hospital – moved out of the frame.

Meanwhile, the actors take their positions: Murali on a chair, and Lena, on one in the row directly behind. Both actors are dressed in simple clothes; Murali is wearing a soiled grey shirt and dhoti (a crew member even sprays water on the shirt to make it look more sweaty) and Lena is dressed in a faded-green cotton sari. A crew member pushes a wheelchair into place beside Murali and everything is set to go. As soon as Arun calls action, Lena jumps up and, with great effort, lifts Murali into the wheelchair. Once he is settled, she pushes the wheelchair out of the frame. Arun sees no need for a retake and the crew immediately begin work on the next shot, a close-up of Murali.

“The name Left Right Left reflects the mood of the movie – to march on ahead, come what may. It can suggest the idea of everyone falling into line. And, it is also the one rhythm that humans can follow by instinct,” says Arun, who’s previous film Ee Adutha Kaalathu (EAK), starring Indrajith and Murali in the lead, won critical and box office acclaim for its fresh narrative.

Like EAK, Left Right Left too has been written by Murali. Indrajith, Murali, Lena, Remya Nambhessan and Hareesh Peradi star in the lead roles.

Left Right Left doesn’t have an extraordinary storyline; it has an extraordinary narrative…,” says Arun, who seems very reluctant to give out details of the story. “It’s a social thriller… If I reveal a part of it, I’ll have to reveal the entire story,” he says, apologetically.

Then what about the film’s tagline ‘Revolution is homemade’? “Well, isn’t it so? Our childhood influences and the environment we grew up in affect our choices when we become adults. It is these things that mould us into the people we become. Left Right Left is a journey of Jayan (Indrajith), Roy (Murali), Anitha (Lena) and Jennifer (Remya) and is set in three periods – the 60s/70s, the 80s/90s and the present.”

Maybe the actors will give us more clues… Says Murali, who looks rather intimidating with a cut on his lip and another on his forehead and his scruffy appearance: “I play the role of Roy Joseph, who teaches at an orphanage. He is very resilient by nature.”

Well not much info from that quarter, it seems!

Let’s try Lena. “My character, Anitha, is Roy’s wife and she teaches mass communication. Anitha is a woman of strength who carries the many responsibilities that she has with ease. As the pressure keeps building, her strength and determination never waver,” says Lena.

Indrajith, who is resting in his trailer while he waits for his next scene, says: “I play the role of a psycho sub-inspector of police. He’s a rough and tough guy, popular among his colleagues because of his guts. For instance, if there is a riot he’ll lead from the front. He’s almost like a volcano that’s about to erupt. Thanks to his nature he’s even earned himself a nickname ‘Vattu’ Jayan. He’s like this because of certain traumatic childhood experiences.”

Left Right Left, which will be shot in and around Thiruvananthapuram, is being produced by M. Renjith under the banner of Rejaputhra Visual Media. Music is by Gopi Sundar. Stills are by Bijith.

The film marches into theatres in March.