Oh Meri Laila will present a different side of Antony Varghese: Abhishek KS
The debutant on directing his classmate Antony Varghese in a campus love story, which hits theatres this Friday
Antony Varghese is often associated with tough guy characters, so it should be refreshing to see him taking on something relatively softer in a campus love story titled Oh Meri Laila.
The director, Abhishek KS, wants to promise us the same. “It will be a big surprise for everyone to see him like this in the film, which revolves around the first and second years in the college life of a youngster and his love life. Compared to what he used to do earlier, this role will be different, next-door guy type,” he says.
Based on a story by Abhishek K.S and Anuraj OB, with a script by the latter, Oh Meri Laila has two female leads, played by Veyil-fame Sona Olickal and newcomer Nandana Rajan.
Including these two names, the makers went for a widescale audition process to cast newcomers from across the state. “It was important for us to find faces that don’t come with a preconceived image given the nature of the characters. Their presence had to complement Antony’s. There are newcomers from Kasaragod to Kanyakumari,” says Abhishek, an Ottapalam native who dabbled in short films before making his feature debut. Interestingly, he and Antony used to be classmates, and the latter once appeared in his short films.
Ask Abhishek how tricky it is to pull off a campus love story in this day and age, and he says, “Well, I would say it’s a deconstruction of a familiar genre. It may contain something people have seen before, but we tried to bring in a new flavour. After the first ten minutes, you can’t tell in which direction the film is going—that’s the factor driving the movie. It’s an approach we have not seen before, with the kind of characters we have not seen before.”
Oh Meri Laila has Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey cinematographer Bablu Aju behind the camera. Kiran Das, who worked on Joji and Rorschach, is the editor whose involvement, says Abhishek, proved much advantageous to the film. “Initially, we were a bit confused because most of the stuff he did before was of the realistic or serious variety. His is a very academic method. When producer Paul Varghese suggested him, we were quite apprehensive, considering the lighthearted material and all, but we were relieved to find he liked the script. Kiran is one of those people whose works make you really understand the talent of an editor. His cuts have a certain flow, and he has a certain magic, which is why he is still doing the kind of work he does. Our first cut was slightly lengthy, but he tightened it to a manageable length.”