Sanal Kumar Sasidharan has announced his next. Titled Chola, the film will feature Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan and newcomer Nikhil in three important roles.This is the first time that Sanal is working with mainstream actors. "My first conversation with Joju happened after he called me to convey his appreciation for Ozhivudivasathe Kali. Similarly, I met Nimisha after the screening of S Durga."
Just like his previous films, Chola will have a raw and minimal style, says Sanal. "This is a great time for independent cinema. The audience has matured in the past four to five years. I was astonished by the response I received for Ozhivudivasathe... The success of films like Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum and Ee Ma Yau is a huge confidence booster. The viewers today are more receptive of films with good artistic value."
Joju professed his admiration for both Sanal and Nimisha and said that it was his wish to work with the two for a long time. "When films from other places play at festivals, we become curious about their culture and lifestyle. This film too, will be very much rooted in our culture and have soulful characters. We cannot disclose the location right now but it will be a place where no one has shot in before", says the actor.
For Nimisha, who made her debut in Dileesh Pothan's Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, Sanal's call was a pleasant surprise. "I'm very excited. I wanted to be in one of his films after seeing S Durga. So I was elated when I got his call. My role will be different from everything I'd done before."
Sanal thanked the media for the wonderful support they have been giving independent filmmakers in the region. On being asked if Chola will be a strongly political film, he says, "My film will revolve around an event that occurs in the lives of these three individuals. The politics won't be overt but power politics and feminine identity are some of the themes that will be explored. As for the premise, I can't say if there is any because, if you take Ozhivudivasathe..., for example, the initial script was just six pages. The structure of this one will be simple too. It's a script that I and Manikandan wrote ten years back."
When asked why small-scale Malayalam films are not showcased enough on online platforms like Netflix, Sanal said: "Indie films are not getting the proper encouragement on such platforms. That's the main reason why you don't see enough Malayalam films there." Sanal's Ozhivudivasathe... and Oraalpokkam are available on Netflix.Chola is being produced by Shaji Mathew and Aruna Mathew. Jiju Antony is the executive producer. Ajit Acharya is the director of photography, and art direction will be handled by Dileep Das.