Kannadi Talkies, directed by K.M. Madhusudanan, unfolds a story set in an old-world theatre. Sreenivsan and Lal play the lead roles in the film.

Kalpaka Theatre is one of the prominent cinemas in Kozhikode, though it is not a release centre. It is a ‘B’ class theatre where you could catch the film that you might have missed in the city. It is patronised by people living at and near Mankave.

On this rainy July morning, Kalpaka has been rechristened Kannadi Talkies. Posters of old Malayalam and Tamil films as well as hoardings of stars such as Mammootty, Mohanlal, Sathyan, MGR and Rajnikanth create an old- world charm. It is the location for K.M. Madhusudanan’s Kannadi Talkies. “The film is a about a theatre called ‘Kannadi Talkies’ and it revolves around its manager Adithyan, played by Sreenivasan. He is a movie addict; he could watch the same film several times over. The film also focusses on his relation with the theatre’s proprietor, Sivaraman, portrayed by Lal,” says Madhusudanan, who had made a promising debut with the much-talked-about Bioscope.

“For Sivaraman, this theatre is not exactly a profitable business, but he resists the temptation to convert it into a shopping complex. This is also a convenient place for him to indulge in his shenanigans and entertain women too,” Madhusoodanan elaborates.

Kannadi Talkies, he adds, is a surrealistic black comedy. “It is a fast-paced movie, shot like a thriller. The film also delves deep into a film fan’s psyche, who sometimes feels as if he is the hero he is watching on the screen,” he says, prior to a scene featuring Sreenivasan and Lal.

Sreenivasan is dressed in a white shirt and mundu; Lal too is in white, and a long kurta. “It is a confrontational scene inside the theatre. It is actually the continuation of a fight sequence,” says Madhusudanan, who does not want to divulge more details.

It is pretty dark inside the theatre and the camera is fixed above, on the balcony. Sreenivasan and Lal enter the dimly-lit frame. The scene is wrapped up in a couple of takes.

“I liked the concept of the film. It has an interesting story, not very usual for Malayalam cinema,” says Sreenivasan.

Lal too is impressed with the theme of Kannadi Talkies. “I like my character and his relationship with Sreenivasan,” says the actor-director, before he leaves to face the camera for a short scene, in which he has to get into a chauffeur-driven, white ambassador car.

The shooting goes on into the night. The action resumes at Kalpaka Theatre the following morning.

The cast includes Archana Kavi, Irshad, Mamukoya, Kalabhavan Mani, Vijayakumar, Indrans, Surabhi, Kottayam Nazeer, Vijayan Karanthur, Musthafa and Vinod Kovoor. Debutant Karthik Muthukumar is the cinematographer. Lyrics by Rafeeq Ahmed have been tuned by M. Jayachandran. Stills are by Anil Perambra.

Kannadi Talkies, produced by Hyder Khan under the banner of Empire Films, will open in talkies across Kerala in September.