Lockdown becomes backdrop of new Malayalam film
Rahul Madhav, Sanju Shivaram and Sabareesh Varma are among the cast of this low-budget film titled Lockdown
The pandemic and resultant lockdown will be the backdrop of an independent film titled simply Lockdown. It is likely the first Malayalam film to reflect the current scenario aside from being one of the films to start/resume/complete filming if the lockdown is lifted on May 17.
Filmmaker Xooreg Zubrahmanyan describes his debut film as a road movie-cum-action thriller. "Unlike films like Virus and Contagion, our film doesn't delve deeply into the pandemic. It merely serves as a backdrop for a set of parallel stories and characters. But certainly, the lockdown will have an effect on the characters," he says.
Xooreg, who also penned the script, shares that the whole project wasn't conceived in a jiffy and that they have been planning it for the past six months. Initially, the story, which spans 48 hours and takes place fully at night, was set against the backdrop of a hartal. "Since it would be absurd to do that when the entire world has been shut down, we modified the script to make it look like how the lockdown impacts these characters, in addition to several incidents, both real and fictional. We will be blending some real-life visuals too," he explains.
The team is currently in the process of securing permissions. "Our proposal involves a maximum of 20 members to be part of our crew, including actors and technicians. It's akin to an ad film crew set-up. Every member will be required to carry a medical certificate. Since the shoot will be only confined to the night, there will be no interaction with the public."
The film will feature minimal characters. Rahul Madhav and Sanju Shivaram have signed on to play the two main characters. The supporting cast will feature Sabareesh Varma, Jinu Joseph, Sijoy Varghese, and Biju Sopanam among others. "All these actors were already committed, and their interest grew once we decided to incorporate the Covid-19 issue," adds Xooreg.
The film will be shot mostly in Thiruvananthapuram, as Xooreg finds the roads and highways there more ideal for shooting sequences as opposed to those in Ernakulam. "80-85 per cent of the film takes place on the road. We are planning to shoot after 7.30 pm and wrap up before 4.30 am. That would be very convenient for everyone."
A filmmaker who has previously worked on ads and short films, Xooreg will be aided by cinematographer Jebin Jacob, editor Sobin K Soman and sound designer Renganath Ravee. Prasanth Pillai will be handling the background score.
The team is also engaged in discussions with some major streaming platforms and television channels to screen the film once production is wrapped up as a theatrical release doesn't sound feasible given the present situation.