New kids on the block
Meet Amal Sha and Govind V Pai, who played Ichappi and Habeeb in Parava
Both Amal Sha and Govind V Pai confess that they haven't been to school ever since Parava released. "We are too busy meeting the media and doing promotions. We haven't got the time to go back to school yet," say the teenagers who played the protagonists, Ichappi and Habeeb, in Soubin Shahir's debut movie.
But, aren't they missing classes? "We will manage it, though. We bunked classes for three months straight while shooting Parava. Everybody in school knows. They are excited for us. When we first told them we were doing Parava, none believed us," says Amal with a shy smile. While Amal is a class 12 student, Govind is in class 10.
With the film doing well in theatres, the boys are finding themselves suddenly in the limelight. The duo says they get quite a lot of selfie requests. "People recognise us. We saw Parava six times at different theatres in Kochi and Alappuzha. We got a great response from each place," says Govind.
Love for pigeons
The boys from Mattanchery say pigeons and racing were always familiar to them. Govind says he has seen older boys near his home nurturing pigeons, and has always loved the winged creatures. Amal, meanwhile, had a closer connection. He remembers his childhood where he played with the pigeons. "I had a lot of them at my home. But, my mother sold them off after I flunked class 9. She was angry as I spent my entire time playing with them," says Amal. Surely, his real-life experience must have inspired Soubin to give Ichappi the same fate in the movie.
However, it wasn't easy for the duo to get along with the pigeons in Parava. "We spent months with the pigeons before the shooting began. The birds were brought in from Nagercoil. For almost six months, we fed and took care of them before they warmed up to us," says Amal. It helped that Soubin taught them how to release a pigeon.
Facing the camera
Both Amal and Govind were selected for Parava before the formal audition. Quiz them about their experience in front of the camera, and they say, "We did what Soubikka said. We needed quite a few retakes though. We weren't tensed as Soubikka would tell us what to do and we would do accordingly. Sometimes, he would ask us for suggestions. But, since he was there for everything, we never felt any apprehension," says the duo.
What about the cycle stunts? Amal says he has been doing that ever since childhood. "I have always had a cycle, and for the past two years, I've been doing stunts. We did that for the movie as well. But, it was a harrowing experience as I had to repeatedly perform the acts under the hot sun. I fell unwell after a while," says Amal.
So, what's next? "We are still busy. Today, we have a reception near our home," they wind up before rushing off.