Remember the last time you saw a glorious Kerala countryside on 70mm? And, haven’t we just thought paddy fields and neryathu-clad moms are a matter of the past? Well, if you are ready for that bittersweet bout of nostalgia, here comes Jilebi - a delightful family entertainer set against the long-missing rural resplendence. “It’s a feel-good story woven around a villager and two kids,” says director Arun Shekhar.
Jilebi may seem a little out-of-trend in terms of backdrop, but Arun says Malayalis still cherish a soft spot for simple village stories. “It’s not a deliberate effort, but something that suits the storyline. The story is set in a village to reinforce the contrast,” he says. Jilebi chronicles the life of Sreekuttan, a true-blue villager played by Jayasurya. “He follows age-old methods of farming and stays away from anything chemical. For him farming is not a business, but a tradition. Quite a simpleton, he is content with what he has and plans to go on with his modest lifestyle,” he adds.
Arun says Jilebi is a realistic story told with a lavish dash of humour. “Sreekuttan is not very fond of kids, but at one point two kids enter his life. And the children are nothing like he expects them to be; they come from the luxe and tech-savvy world. The film portrays how they change his otherwise uneventful life,” he explains. He says though the film has lots of hilarious moments, it’s not a downright comedy. “It was not conceived as a comedy and there will be no slapstick jokes.” While Master Gourav and Sayuri Arun step into the roles of kids Remya Nambeesan plays their mother Shilpa, the creative head of a Dubai-based ad agency. “She is striving hard to balance her personal and professional responsibilities like any other working mother,” he says. While KPAC Lalitha plays Sreekuttan’s mother, Vijayaraghavan and Shari appear in other key roles as his uncle and aunt. Dharmajan and Sasi Kalinga are also part of the cast.
Arun says he wanted a simple-and-sweet title for the film and ‘Jilebi’ felt just perfect. “It may look knotty and complicated, but at the end of the day it’s sweet,” he says.
Jilebi, produced by East Coast Vijayan under the banner of East Coast, is expected to hit screens next month.