‘Praise the Lord’ - the biblical phrase might seem to have deep-rooted religious affinity but Shibu Gangadharan’s debut directorial venture by that name has nothing biblical about it. “The film is not biblical in any way. It has all the elements of a family entertainer including humour, drama and action woven together in the right measure,” says the first-time director. The Mammootty-starrer is based on writer Zacharia’s novella of the same name.
The satirical movie narrates the story of Joy, a Pala-based rubber planter who doesn’t know the world outside Kottayam. “He is an affluent agriculturist, happily married with two kids. Pala and its immediate surroundings are the only world he has seen. The only exposure Joy gets about the world outside is through his friend, advocate Sunny,” says Shibu who started his career as assistant director to national award winning director Rajiv Nath in Janani. Mukesh dons the role of advocate Sunny in the light-hearted entertainer.
The not-so-happening life of Joy takes an unexpected turn when his family becomes the abode of Samkutty and Annie who elope from Delhi and reach Kottayam. Joy, who has only seen love stories in films, is curious about how a real life love story plays out. “Joy thinks that romance in real life is just like that in the movies...tender, loving and expressive. More than providing shelter to the young couple, Joy’s interest is in the whole experience of seeing them in love,” says Shibu. Ahmed Sidhique and Akanksha Puri essay the role of the couple in the movie.
“Joy and Sunny will remind the audience of any common middle-aged man who crib about not having done anything exciting in their youth,” says Shibu.
Reenu Mathews essays the role of Ancy, Joy’s wife in the film. Interestingly Praise the Lord is Reenu’s second outing with Mammootty, the first being Immanuel. Ask the director about Reenu’s character, he says, “Unlike Reenu’s previous role, Ancy in Praise the Lord is a bold woman with her own identity. She has her own opinions and a strong say in family matters,” explains the director who has a career spanning 16 years in the film industry. He has assisted Shyamaprasad, K Madhu, Rajiv Anchal, V M Vinu and Sanal Vasudev, among others.
The director who likes to make family movies, says, “When I read Zacharia’s novel, the story instantly struck a chord and Mammookka was a natural choice for the role of Joy. One will never see a superstar but a down-to-earth simpleton farmer with a heart of gold.”
The film has four songs composed by Shaan Rahman. Rafeek Ahmed has penned the lyrics for three songs. “There is a Hindi song which is penned by Dev D fame lyricist Shellee aka Shaliendra Singh Sodhi,” adds the director. The script is by T P Devarajan and cinematography by Pradeep Nair. The film, produced by Milan Jaleel under the banner of Galaxy Films, will hit the screens on Friday.