A day after the Halal Love Story team launched it's near-silent teaser, we got a longer, more detailed trailer that promises a film that will bring back all the charm and small-town goodness of its director Zakariya Mohammed's previous film Sudani From Nigeria. Ironically, for a film that places love for cinema at its heart, it feels wrong that it doesn't get a theatrical release.
In the teaser, we see how cinema forms an integral part of this village; the school teacher (Sharafudeen) screens Cinema Paradiso to a classroom full of students. We learn more about this setting in the trailer, and realise that it's about a small town getting together to make a film.
In the beginning, we see Indrajith's character performing a street play, which is followed by a scene of two men pasting a poster of an R-rated film called "Darling". A man (perhaps a producer) looking outside his bedroom window notices this poster and calls such films "haram" (forbidden). Contrasting that with the film's title, it suggests that the film is about the effort of the townsfolk to make a "halal" love story, to counter the spread of "haram" films like Darling.
But, the effort is not to make a full-length feature film. When this team gets the aforementioned school teacher onboard to write this film, he suggests that they make a shorter hour-long telefilm, given their limitations. Indrajith takes up the role of an actor, along with his wife, played by Grace Antony. What follows is a series of little moments similar to what made Sudani From Nigeria a special film.
This includes a shot of an assistant director saying the film will take 10 days to shoot, just by weighing the screenplay, another where the director (Joju George) and writer look bemused at the terrible performances of their actors, and a few interactions between the husband-wife acting duo.
With Parvathy playing the role of an acting coach, and Soubin Shahir playing the extremely loud sync-sound designer, Halal Love Story is expected to reveal deeper insights into the characters as they go about the process of making the telefilm.
The film is produced by Aashiq Abu's OPM Cinemas and Jesna Ashim and Harshad Ali under Papaya Films. Zakariya and Muhsin Parari, along with cinematographer Ajay Menon and editor Saiju Shreedharan, are credited as co-producers under the banner Our Hood Movies.
The film is written by Zakariya and Muhsin Parari, with Ashif Kakkodi credited as a co-writer. Music is by Bijibal, Shahabaz Aman, Rex Vijayan and Yakzan-Neha.