James Albert says he wanted an unconventional coast as the backdrop for his directorial debut. “Not the usual seashores specked with shacks and huts, but something slightly exotic,” he explains. Malayalam flick Mariyam Mukku, starring Fahad Fazil and Sana Althaf in the lead, is a breezy romance set against the backdrop of Thangassery, a seaside village in Kollam. “It’s basically a love story, a rom-com woven around its lead pair Felix and Salomi,” says the director.
Once a Portuguese enclave, Mariyam Mukku has some specific cultural features and is populated by Anglo-Indians and fisherfolk alike. “It was a Portuguese colony in the past and the people there are said to be descendants of them. So, there is this typical Latino feel about everything, including festivals,” he says.
Fahad Fazil gets into the garb of a fisherman for the first time as Felix and giving him company will be Prathap Pothan, Aju Varghese, Joy Mathew, Irshad and Neeraj Madhav. Manoj K Jayan appears in another key role as Mariyan, Felix’s foster father. “Felix is an orphan who loses both parents at a young age. He is raised by Mariyan, his godfather. Salomi is his childhood sweetheart and the film opens as she returns from the convent where she had been working for a while. The film shows how love blossoms between the couple and the aftermath of it,” he says.
Sana Althaf will be making her leading debut through the film and James says he wanted an unfamiliar actor to play Salomi. “The story demanded a fresh face and you will know the reason when you watch it. The character of Salomi is very important and in the film she is paired opposite an excellent actor like Fahad. So, casting was really crucial and I think Sana has played her role beautifully,” he says.
James says the film is a mix of romance, music, action and comedy — all mass ingredients to draw crowds. “The film will be a total visual treat capturing the scenic nuances of all seasons on the coast. It will be an entertainer fit for all sections of audience,” he says. Girish Gangadharan has cranked the camera for the film, while Vidyasagar has scored the music. Mariyam Mukku, produced by A K Sabeer under the banner of Sam Big Movies, is expected to hit the screens this weekend.