This is his first movie, but director Anis is confident, despite the delays in the release of Thirumanam Ennum Nikkah (TEN). Starring Jai and Nazriya, the film with its engaging title, has already been drawing attention.
“The film revolves around two main characters, of two different religious backgrounds. It’s their love story and talks about how they come together, but has a dose of comedy,” says Anis. At the beginning of his career, instead of taking the safer rom-com or thriller route, why did he go in for the delicate subject of inter-religious marriages? How did the idea come to him?
“See, there is nothing controversial about my film. I’m from a Muslim family and have grown up in Chennai. I have seen the lives of my friends and neighbours who are Hindus, from close quarters. The diversity of both cultures is very appealing and it’s wonderful to see the various rituals and festivals associated with both religions. My film is about the unity in our diversity. It shows how adaptation, adjustment and a better understanding of each other’s lifestyle and culture can lead to happier personal lives,” says Anis.
Both Jai and Nazriya have IT backgrounds in the movie. So what made him think they were suitable for the roles? “Nazriya is a cute and bubbly contemporary girl in the movie, very much like in real life. Jai is an actor who is liked by all age groups and has no fixed image. He fit the role of the jolly character perfectly,” says Anis.
The film was shot largely in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kozhikode. “There are some scenes of actual festivals we captured during golu at the Kesavan Perumal Temple in Sriperumbudur, Avani Avitam apart from Ramzan in Malabar and Muharram in Hyderabad. Since we had to wait till the actual ceremonies took place during the year, it added to the delay in shooting,” explains Anis. Heba Patel from Bollywood has done a role, while Pandiarajan and Mayilsamy have played important characters which will regale the audiences.
Anis feels that Ghibran’s Sufi music has been well received. He is happy that his mentor Nasser has lent his voice to a character in the film. Talking about his mentor brings a smile to his face, “I did my BA in Tamil Literature from the American College, Madurai and later my MA and M Phil from the School of Drama and Theatre Arts in Puducherry where Nasser sir gave a visiting lecture. For my thesis on Drama and Films, I worked as assistant director in his film Devathai and later in Mayan and Popcorn. But I went back to my first love, modern theatre, conducting plays and workshops in Singapore, Malaysia and India. Now I’ve decided to turn to film direction. Nasser sir told me that he’ll see TEN with the audiences and give his feedback,” says Anis.
The movie produced by Aascar Films is set to release next week.