Anwar Rasheed has always dished out mass entertainers with all commercial flavours, except the anthological piece ‘Bridge’. But it is the simplicity in the plot that lured him in committing the latest flick ‘Usthad Hotel’, says the director. The film that releases today chronicles the warm relationship of an unlikely pair of a grandfather and a grandson topped with the culinary expertise of the people of Calicut.
“I have always been enticed by Calicut people’s unerring precision in cooking and hospitality. That led to the filming of Karimkka (Thilakan), the masterly chef and the owner of ‘Usthad Hotel’, a beach-side restaurant that sells the best biryani for the past 40 years. The film is all about the strong bond between Karimkka, a Sufi Muslim, and his grandson Faizi played by Dulquar Salman,” says Anwar.
He says that though at the surface level, ‘Usthad Hotel’ too is a family entertainer like his other movies, it also bring to front the unseen life of the beach-side. “Unlike the usual movies where the gaudy side of the beaches including the crowd and rush of foreigners are picturised, ‘Usthad Hotel’ chronicles the life of the ordinary people living there,” he says.
Narrating the way the idea of the movie evolved, Anwar says, “the thread of the movie came out in a telephonic conversation with Anjali Menon, script writer of the movie. Post ‘Bridge’, we decided to do a movie together. After discussing two-three projects, we thought why cant we do a food related movie. We postponed the movie idea and then ‘Salt N Pepper’ was released. This movie has no similarity with ‘Salt N Pepper’ except that both deals with food.” Anwar adds that it is the simplicity of the story and its emotional content that prompted him to take up this project.
“In majority of the new releases, there is dearth of emotions. ‘Usthad Hotel’ unravels the story of two generations and the warmth and affection that the members of a family bear in their heart for each other. This movie can be enjoyed by all age groups since there are characters of all age appearing in the movie,” says Anwar. Nithya Menon plays Fahana, an interior designer who is a friend of Faizi. Siddique acts as Faizi’s father. Lena, Mammukoya and Bhagath Manuel also play important roles. The music is composed by Gopi Sunder. The song ‘Appangalembadum’ sung by the Calicut based rock band Kallumekkaya is already a rage. The film is produced by Listin Stephen under the banner of Magic Frames. The camera is cranked by Lokanathan and editing is by Mahesh Narayanan.