Last week saw several teaser releases and poster launches that only added to the excitement of the Malayalam film audience, who can now look forward to a great year at the movies in 2021. Aligning with the release of Jayasuriya's Vellam, the first Malayalam film to release in theatres in over 300 days, producers and directors have come forward to announce the release date of a few films, besides the trailers of a few others.
Among these was the surprise announcement and poster launch of Aashiq Abu's new film starring Prithviraj titled Neelavelicham. Based on the legendary Malayalam writer Vaikom Mohammed Bashir's novel, the film will also star Kunchacko Boban, Rima Kallingal and Soubin Shahir. Shyju Khalid will shoot the film which will have music by Aashiq Abu regulars Bijibal and Rex Vijayan. The film is expected to go on floors later this year.
Curiously, the same director-star duo had announced that they would be making Variyamkunnan, based on the life of freedom fighter Variyamkunnath Kunhahamed Haji, who was killed by British police in 1921. Apart from two other sets of filmmakers announcing their own film versions of the same personality, the film had further run into trouble when one of the original writers of Aashiq Abu's film had to withdraw after facing criticism for certain regressive views. The present status of the film is not widely known and Neelavelicham is perhaps being shot instead of Variyamkunnan.
A short 28-second teaser of Parvathy-starrer Aarkariyam was also released last week. In it, one can see Parvathy and Sharafudeen's characters planning a difficult trip, perhaps to bring their daughter back home. From the looks of it, the film may be set during the lockdown, with the plot covering the difficulties a couple has to go through to secure their daughter. A Kottayam setting too is obvious, from the accents being used by the actors. It is being directed by Sanu John Varghese and the film will release on February 26.
Another Parvathy starrer Varthamanan had a trailer release the same day. Directed by Sidharth Siva (who had earlier made Sakhavu) the film's script is by award winning writer Aryadan Shaukat (Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam, Vilapangalkkappuram). The film has already created quite a bit of controversy with the regional wing of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in Kerala denying the film permission to be screened.
After receiving clearance, this film too is aiming for a February release. The film also stars Roshan Mathew and Dain Davis. In the 80-second trailer, the film is being described as 'the journey of a young woman who will bring a new revolution'. Playing a Muslim student named Faiza, the trailer hints at how the murder/death of a student brings about a major change in life and politics of the major characters involved. Set in North India, a character talks about a certain group of students being targeted in the college campus. It ends with a striking image of several visionary leaders being put behind bars.
With even more announcements being awaited this week, given the success of films such as Vijay-starrer Master, it looks like the industry is back on its foot after facing one of its worst phases ever.