Aashiq Abu’s Virus based on Nipah outbreak in Kerala
Muhsin Parari, one of the writers of the upcoming Aashiq Abu-directorial, shares details about the project
Filmmaker Aashiq Abu has pulled off quite the casting coup for his next project, titled Virus. The last time such a casting coup was witnessed was a decade back, in Joshi's Twenty: 20.
For what is seen as his biggest project yet, the director has assembled some of the most talented and well-known names working today in Malayalam cinema. Revathy leads a distinguished cast comprising Parvathy Thiruvoth, Tovino Thomas, Asif Ali, Rima Kallingal, Kalidas Jayaram, Remya Nambeesan, Soubin Shahir, Dileesh Pothan, and Chemban Vinod Jose.
The film, which is not an anthology, will revolve around multiple characters dealing with the Nipah outbreak. The script is jointly written by Muhsin Parari (co-writer of Sudani from Nigeria), and Suhas and Sharafu (writers of the upcoming Amal Neerad film Varathan, who also worked as assistant directors on Sudani from Nigeria).
Muhsin, who made his directorial debut with KL10 Pathu, has assisted Aashiq on 5 Sundarikal. He was working on another project titled Kaakka921 (with Sudani... director Zakariya) when Aashiq suggested the idea of Virus. "Me and Zakariya were in Kozhikode around the time of the outbreak. We got a good sense of the city's mood at the time."
The writer says he managed to get a first-hand account of the situation in Kozhikode from some of his doctor friends. "I've always held a fascination for those in the medical profession. We felt we could structure a narrative around the Nipah outbreak based on the things we heard from the medicos I knew."
Virus is essentially a survival drama, reveals Muhsin. "It explores human psychology when faced with a phenomenon we have no clue about. How do we deal with something that tests our survival mechanism, knowledge and endurance levels? How much can our own ignorance scare us? How do we overcome a disaster of that magnitude? It poses a lot of thought-provoking questions."
Produced by Aashiq under the banner of OPM, the film will have music by Sushin Shyam (Maradona, Varathan), while Sameera Saneesh (Mayaanadhi, Kammara Sambhavam) will be handling the costumes and Saiju Sreedharan (Mayaanadhi, Maheshinte Prathikaram) the editing.
Rajeev Ravi has been roped in as the cinematographer. The Kammattipadam director, who is known for his long and fruitful association with director Anurag Kashyap, told us he wasn't aware of the film's subject when Aashiq approached him about it. "Aashiq had asked me whether I can shoot a film for him and I said yes," says Rajeev.