Three very different films reach theatres today. While one is by a debutant, two of the releases are by young Turks who have a considerable fan following. There is romance, humour, mystery and music to woo viewers.

The onset of summer vacation or festivals is the time for the big entertainers to reach theatres. It is another festive season for Malayalam cinema, with almost every big name in the business joining the fray with a new release. Three new films hit the cinemas this week – Salam Bappu’s Red Wine, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Amen and Sugeeth’s 3 Dots.

Here is a look at the films, with the directors themselves talking about their work and what the viewers should expect to see in the films.

Salam Bappu

Cheers to friendship

According to debutant director Salam Bappu, Red Wine is about friendship, romance and revolution.

Mohanlal acts as Ratheesh Vasudevan, an assistant commissioner of police ; Fahadh Faasil’s character Anoop is an activist from Wayanad and Asif Ali enacts automobile executive Ramesh Kumar from Kozhikode.

“Anoop, a theatre activist, is deeply involved in social issues and he empathises with the anxieties of his fellow beings. Ramesh is an ambitious youngster. Ratheesh finds a strange link between the two and that has a social significance as well,” explains Salaam.

He agrees that it is a casting coup of sorts and is thrilled to start his career as a director with the camera focussed on Mohanlal.

“I barely knew him personally but he was ready to do the role the moment the script was narrated to him. Fahadh and Asif are friends with whom I share almost every creative idea,” says Salaam.

The film’s cast includes Saiju Kurup, T.G. Ravi, Kailash, Meera Nandan, Anusree, Meghna Raj and Mia.

There have been certain controversies regarding the credits of the script but Salaam says it has all been sorted by now.

The story is by Noufal Blathoor and the screenplay and dialogues are by Mammen K. Rajan.

“It is perhaps a good time to be a director in Malayalam film industry considering the number of films that are being made but we need more theatres so that the films are not pulled out prematurely,” he says.

Red Wine is being produced under the banner of Gowri Meenakshi Films. Cinematographer is Manoj Pillai and music composer is Bijibal.


Connect the dots

After an extraordinary debut with a hugely successful film, Ordinary director Sugeeth is back with 3 Dots. The story, according the director, is about three former convicts who are trying to make a new life for themselves.

“On a philosophical level, though the individual dots signifies the end, when the dots are joined, it indicates continuation. This is relevant when it comes to the three heroes in this story. As they are trying to get on with their lives, things take an unexpected turn with the coming of a boy. The film has a festive mood with humour, music and an underlying message,” says Sugeeth.

Kunchacko Boban and Biju Menon, who have been giving a series of hits, team up once again in the lead roles.

Joining them as the third male lead is Pratap Pothen, who made an impressive comeback with spectacular performances in 22 Female Kottayam and Ayalum Njanum Thammil.

“Pratap Pothen’s character is very different from his two previous roles in Malayalam cinema. In fact, he is part of two song sequences, where he is seen dancing as well,” says the director.

The ‘Palakkadan accent’ used by Biju Menon’s character was perhaps the highlight of Ordinary, but Sugeeth says he deliberately avoided trying any such gimmick, as he did not want to get typecast.

Janani Iyer and Anjana Menon play the heroines, while Narain dons the role of a psychologist.

3 Dots is being produced under the banner of Ordinary Films. Rajesh Raghavan has written the film.

Faizal Ali is the cinematographer and music director is Vidyasagar.

Lijo Jose Pellissery

The divine comedy

Director Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Amen is “a divine comedy”, says the film’s tagline. The film has Fahadh Faasil, Indrajit and Swati Reddy playing the main roles.

“It is a fun film with music, satire and romance. The story unfolds in a slightly Utopian village called Kumarankary. Each person in the village is a character and the popular belief there is that every one in Kumarankary has been involved in a romance at some point or the other,” says the director.

Lijo adds: “The movie has an ambience that has never been tried before in Malayalam. We are not establishing a time or period when the story is happening. It has been made on a massive scale, with a church being built and quite a number of artistes in the cast and I feel even I cannot recreate all these once again.”

His earlier films, Nayakan and City of God, were well appreciated but did not set the cash registers ringing.

“We can’t make films with an eye on the box office. I don’t believe all hit movies are spectacular and that all flop ones are bad. At times, we don’t consider flop films as experiments or even as different attempts, but some of those ‘box office failures’ from the past are being hailed as cult movies now. I had limitations while making Nayakan and I feel City Of God was too complex for the viewers at that point of time,” he says.

Amen is being produced under the banner of White Sands Media. Abhinandan Ramanujam has cranked the camera and Prashant Pillai has scored the music.

Keywords: Red WineSalam Bappu