Parenthood is the central theme in Children's Park: Shafi

Sharaf U Dheen, Vishnu Unnikrishnan, and Dhruvan make up the film’s three main characters — the ‘3 Idiots’ mentioned in the posters — who take over an orphanage in Munnar
Parenthood is the central theme in Children's Park: Shafi

Shafi and Rafi, the successful director-writer duo behind Two Countries, are back with a novel concept in their latest film, Children’s Park. Sharaf U Dheen, Vishnu Unnikrishnan, and Dhruvan make up the film’s three main characters — the ‘3 Idiots’ mentioned in the posters — who take over an orphanage in Munnar.

“This orphanage used to be a British-run daycare center at one point which was later converted to an orphanage after Munnar was damaged by an old flood,” says Shafi on the main location where most of the story takes place. “And then, the three main characters come up with an idea to run it because they have some ulterior motives. These men are not on good terms with their parents. But once they start looking after the children, they begin seeing things from a different perspective. This self-realisation leads to some poignant moments, apart from some challenges and comical situations they run into. You could say parenthood is its central theme,” he adds.

As expected from every film of the director, Children’s Park will also have its share of humour but Shafi informs that it is not too heavy on comedy. “But there will enough moments to entertain family audiences,” he says. Shafi had originally planned to do another project when last year’s floods made him reconsider and take up Children’s Park instead.

On the decision to cast Vishnu, Sharaf, and Dhruvan, Shafi says he felt they were ideal as each actor carries traits that can be convincingly matched with their characters’ actions. “It’s Vishnu’s character that initiates the plan and then the other two join him. Sharaf’s character, a location politician, is a crooked guy. Dhruvan’s character is the one who gets to do all the fight sequences."

The film will have three female leads played by Gayathri Suresh, Manasa Radhakrishnan, and Soumya Menon. Shafi is introducing through the film a few child actors who play prominent characters. In addition to them, Hareesh Kanaran and Joy Mathew will appear in supporting parts. The child actors were cast through auditions. Shafi says it was a challenge to handle them initially but everything turned out well in the end. “After working on this film, I have a newfound respect for school teachers,” he jokes. “One has to be very delicate with them and treat them with love and care if you need to get something done. Being strict with them won’t help your film. On the sets of all my films, I’ve always maintained a jovial atmosphere.”

Shafi made his foray into cinema 19 years ago with the Jayaram-starrer One Man Show and has since then delivered enduring comedy classics like Kalyanaraman, and Mayavi. Children’s Park marks the filmmaker’s 17th film.

Recently, there was talks that Shafi and Rafi are going to do a sequel to Two Countries next. However, Shafi confirms that nothing has been finalised yet and everything is currently in the planning stage. “A sequel would be cool, yes, but we can’t announce anything unless we have a concrete idea in our hands which we are really confident about.”

Children’s Park will be hitting the screens on June 5.

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