Arun Kumar Aravind’s 1 By Two is a psychological thriller that touches upon various social issues, when a cop sets out to investigate a crime.

The gallery of a squash court in Kochi is the set for the shooting of Arun Kumar Aravind’s latest film, 1 By Two. In the small crammed loft, the camera focusses on dapperly-dressed Shyamaprasad and the charming Honey Rose. It is an intense moment. The set is quiet. In fact, the location, unlike most film sets, is devoid of jinks. It is strangely low key and extremely professional, the shots being canned systematically one after the other. One knows it’s a serious film.

Between the intense shots, young and courteous Arun takes a breather. Sitting under the shade of a tree he says: “The film is a psychological thriller. It is not a murder mystery. We cannot divulge more because it is a complex story.” He pauses, thinks for a while and comes up with a synopsis. “Ok, we can put it this way. One of the twins is killed and the death is investigated. A mind game ensues between the cop and the suspects. There’s a bit of romance, and family drama touching on social issues.”

Veteran director Shyamaprasad debuts as an actor in the film. He plays the role of a clinical psychiatrist, a crucial one where he dissects the multiple identities of the suspect. Being in front of the camera for the first time is something that he is enjoying, he says. “I am learning a new way of communication between the director and the crew,” he adds, looking every bit at ease. But his character in the film is demanding. He was roped in to act by Murali Gopy and Arun.

Murali is rehearsing his lines in the squash court. He plays Dr. Harinarayan, one of the twins. Explaining his role and keeping it vague, so as not to give away a smidgen of detail, Murali says, “This character that I play has different hues to it. Many forces function in him simultaneously. The story is about how he emerges from behind the clouds and how he is able to cope with the sunlight of sanity.”

Honey Rose, dressed in a mauve sari, plays the doctor. The story is set in Bangalore and in some interior parts of Kochi. The hospital scenes have been shot in three hospitals in Palakkad. Fahadh Faasil enacts a cop working in the Karnataka Police Department. It is his interaction with Murali that forms the meat of the tale, one guesses.

The camera is cranked by Jomon Thomas, music is by Gopi Sundar and the lyrics are penned by Harinarayan. Shruthi Ramakrishnan plays the other female lead.

Yet, before leaving the set, Arun senses the curiosity and throws a few riders about the story. “The brothers were close. The story is not about finding the killer. That’s common.” So the suspense grows even more as the film is not a straight-forward thriller but a complex tale, “touching social issues.” Death, mind-games, romance and family – not the usual ingredients is 1 By Two, slated for a January release. Stills are by Bijith.