Quaint and nostalgic, Desham is a village straight out of a storybook. A vast repository of myths and superstitions, it’s where Basil Joseph’s Kunjiramayanam is set. It’s also a land of fools who commit all kinds of blunders with utmost sincerity. “It’s a village fantasy and the story is set in an unspecified time. Kunjiramayanam is woven around a handful of villagers and their lives,” says the director.
Since Desham is a land of idiots, all events happening there has a vein of hilarity and lightness. Just like any remote hamlet, nobody dares to question local myths and legends. Dubai Kunjiraman, the only expatriate in the village, is an important figure in the countryside.
“The film chronicles his visits and what happens in between his visits. And each event happening at Desham is ultimately connected to some myth.” Basil says the fantasy quotient is one highlight of the film as each incident is linked to some local myth.
“The basic mood of the film is fun, but there are also some surprises in store,” he adds.
He says that the film is slightly experimental in nature with its strong retro feel and quirky narrative pattern. “All the actors have a clear-cut getup and some of them are sporting this period style for the very first time. And almost all the female characters have this typical dusky skin-tone,” he says. While Vineeth Sreenivasan plays Kunjiraman, Dhyan Sreenivasan appears as Lalu, Kunjiraman’s cousin and Aju Varghese steps into another key role as tailor Kuttan. Mamukoya, Neeraj Madhav, Deepak Parambol, Indrans, Srinda Ashab, Arya and Seema G Nair are also part of the cast. “And there are hardly any junior artists as we have included real villagers found at the location,” he adds.
The posters and promos of “Kunjiramayanam are designed like comic book covers and Basil says there is a specific reason for that. “Kunjiramayanam has this unique folk quality, it’s unraveled like a bedtime story.” Since the village of Desham is an integral part of the narrative finding an apt location was a real task. “We browsed through all rural areas in Kannur, Kasaragod and Wayanad. The characters speak Malabar slang in the film and we wanted a fitting terrain. After scouring half the state we found this little village called Kudallur in Palakkad,” he says.
Kunjiramayanam, produced by Suvin K Varkey under the banner of Little Big Films, is expected to hit the screens this month.