Film director Lal Jose's ‘Spanish Masala' has an interesting blend of several ingredients to attract cine goers.
Dileep's fans hover around the massive gates of the Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel on Beach Road, Fort Kochi, for he is in his caravan, getting ready with the make-up for the next shot of ‘Spanish Masala,' directed by Lal Jose. When he alights from the caravan, in a white chef's attire, they are happy just accompanying him till the gate, whilst he makes small talk with them.
Elsewhere, on the first floor of the hotel, a bedroom scene is ready to be shot, apparently, with the beds neatly made and the crew on one side. Kunchacko Boban, in smart formal wear, and Daniela Zacherl, the Austrian heroine of the film, cute in a black dress, are briefed by Lal Jose, while Lokanathan, cinematographer, gets ready behind the camera. He has a big ‘Do not disturb' tag round his neck, lying undisturbed on his back, like those found on the door of hotel rooms.
With the ‘action' call, Kunchacko Boban hugs Daniela gently. Emotional moments ensue, the dialogues are muffled to those around. Lal Jose gives a signal and Daniela looks up. The director's ‘cut' call is heard and the scene is done all over again twice till Lal, sitting behind the monitor, is satisfied. The film's story and scriptwriter, Benny P. Nayarambalam, also watches the scene unfold on the monitor, with the German, Clemins Berndorff who plays the heroine's cousin. All of them nod in agreement with Lal when he okays the scene.
Daniela gets back to assistant director and sound recordist Samjuktha Sunil to rehearse her lines till lunch break. Chef and TV presenter Naushad, who is the producer, sits on the verandah, scrutinising the events.
The entire movie, budgeted at Rs. 7 crore, was shot in Madrid, Spain, with just three days of shooting in Kerala. The entire movie took just 37 days of shooting and it is slated for a December release, he says. ‘Spanish Masala,' under the banner of Big Screen, is his fifth production.
All about food
“Food plays a very important role in this film. That is why I was doubly interested in it. There are many highlights. You will see a bull fight in a movie, for the last time probably, in ‘Spanish Masala,' for it has just been banned in that country. There is another beautiful surprise waiting for the audience, scenes shot at the famed Tomatina festival, on real location, when it occurs, in August. It was risky, but it paid off,” says Naushad.
For Lal Jose, ‘Spanish Masala' was the toughest project so far, he feels. “The place was new, there are five foreign characters in the movie and many new faces, but it has been very challenging and satisfying.” The foreign characters were all chosen after an audition in Spain.
The story is that of a man whose mother has a thattukada. This guy, Dileep, is a mimicry artiste and goes to Spain with a music troupe. His aim, like many others, is to stay on illegally in the country after that. He does so and when life gets really difficult, he finds that his stint at his mother's thattukada comes in handy.
“The Spanish Masala dosa he makes gets popular and the language problem leads to hilarious situations. Then follows the story,” Lal gives a gist of Spanish Masala. There is whiff of a love triangle, with Kunchacko Boban also being in the film, but no one will give out the story. Kalaranjini plays Dileep's mother. Vinaya Prasad plays an important roles while Archana Kavi does a guest appearance. Vidyasagar is the music director.