Entertainment | Film & Cinema

First-of-its-kind film: Casting Call

Forty UAE aspirants audition for a lead role in an offbeat Emirati-Indian movie

  • By Sharmila Dhal, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 June 24, 2010
  • XPRESS

First-of-its-kind film
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Nayla Al Khaja, centre, with Mallal's producer Wafa Tajdin and art director Ashraf Gori

Dubai: ‘Mallal' in Arabic means ‘bored'. But if the casting call for an upcoming film going by the same name is any indication, movie buffs in the UAE will be far from bored by the film.

The auditions, held over two days on June 19 and 20, had 40 sprightly youngsters turning up at the D Seven Films studio at Dubai Media City in the hope of landing the role of the lead Emirati couple travelling to Munnar in southern India for their honeymoon.

But who will be the lucky duo? "We'll know soon enough," said Emirati director and script writer Nayla Al Khaja, who has already bagged the top prize for the film's script at the Gulf Film Festival 2010.

To be shot for seven days in the picturesque locale of Munnar, Mallal will be the first Emirati-Indian movie to date and is the story of how a bored Emirati woman chances upon an interesting South Indian on her honeymoon, with the two sharing a brief but special relationship, thanks to her not-so-adventurous husband.

It all happens on the last day of the honeymoon when the lady drifts into the forest on her own and bumps into the South Indian who regales her with his charming ways as he walks her back to her resort. There is an instant spark between them, but they must say their goodbyes.

"I am thrilled to be shooting outside my comfort zone," said Nayla, adding, "It will give me a challenge to film in the rough interiors of the forests with a predominantly male crew."

"The shooting will take place during Ramadan," she said.

Barring the director of photography and the two Emiratis in the lead roles, the rest of the 40-member crew will be from India, she said.

"I will also be taking three upcoming filmmakers from the UAE to train them on the sets there," she added.

Nayla said she had decided to make an Emirati-Indian movie because of the large number of expatriates from Kerala living in the UAE.

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