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If you are keen to watch a new South Indian release on the big screen along with a tub of popcorn, then Malayalam film ‘Love’ might stir your interest. This region is the first to showcase the movie in cinemas. Like most new-age Malayalam films, the thriller will subvert tropes such as larger-than-life lead actors and massive budgets, and will instead focus on a gripping storyline and riveting performances.

Here are nine things to know about the movie out now in UAE cinemas…

1. Helmed by South Indian director Khalid Rahman, ‘Love’ is touted as a black comedy thriller by its lead stars Rajisha Vijayan and Shine Tom Chacko. Rahman’s credits include the acclaimed Malayalam cop satire ‘Unda’, starring top star Mammootty.

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Mammootty in 'Unda'.

2. ‘Love’ is the first Malayalam film to release in UAE cinemas after a long spell owing to restrictions to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Currently, new Hollywood releases and re-runs of older popular films that released before the COVID-19 outbreak have been playing in cinemas. ‘Love’ being released is a sign of the entertainment scene gaining momentum as new releases were stalled due to closure of cinema halls.

“I am extremely happy that UAE is one of the first countries to release our film in the theatres. A cinematic experience occurs when you watch it in the theatres alone — on that massive big screen,” said actress Rajisha Vijayan in an interview. “We actors including Shine chettan [brother] and I won’t be able to watch it in the theatres here in Kerala, but it still makes us happy that the UAE movie audiences will be able to spread the word about the movie and the experience you had.”

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Rajisha Vijayan.

3. ‘Love’ was shot in an apartment complex during the lockdown in Kerala, after the coronavirus outbreak. The movie was made on a shoestring budget with fewer than 10 actors in total.

“At first I thought this film will be shot after lockdown … But the director Rahman surprised me and said let’s all try filming it during the virus. Getting a flat to film during the coronavirus outbreak was a tough one … Finally, we found an apartment owned by producers,” said Chacko. His co-star believes that this thriller will raise a string of questions.

“The audience will get the feeling that you are inside that flat watching it all,” said Vijayan.

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Shine Tom Chacko.

4. Actress Rajisha Vijayan is director Rahman’s discovery and it’s their second collaboration together after their 2016 movie ‘Anuraga Karikkin Vellam’, which won her the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress.

5. ‘Love’ chronicles the life of a young couple who live in an apartment in the vibrant metropolis Kochi in Kerala. Anoop and Deepti’s relationship seem normal until she discovers she is pregnant. But her big reveal to her husband doesn’t go as planned as they launch into a heated argument and things spiral out of control. The trailer indicates Anoop getting animated and violent with Deepti during one of their big fights.

“We are exploring the concept and emotion called love in a relationship through this film. From the font of the title — it doesn’t scream out the already set notions of love. You look at love from a different angle. The movie will force you to question your set notion of love among a couple … A series of incidents play out in their lives and the movie captures their highs and lows … There are only a few characters in the film,” said Vijayan.

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Gokulan M.S. and Sudhi Koppa in the film.

6. Director Khalid Rahman believes that this film is driven by the performances by the actors.

“The toughest part of working in a Khalid Rahman movie is working with him. After each cut, he says OK and that’s such a lukewarm reaction so as actors you are often doubting your skills. But he’s also got this rare ability to extract the best from his own set of actors … While the process is frustrating, the results are beautiful and worth every second of our doubt,” said Vijayan.

7. Both leads Chacko and Vijayan are self-made actors who made their way up in the Malayalam movie industry. While Chacko was an assistant director to acclaimed filmmaker Kamal for over eight years, he made an acting plunge with films such as ‘Khaddama’ and ‘Ea Adutha Kaalathu’ and ‘Chapters’. Vijayan was a TV anchor before acting in films.

8. Though the subject of this dark comic thriller may seem voyeuristic as we peek into the dynamics of a married couple, the team promises that it never gets exploitative. The idea is not to titillate, but to entertain viewers.

9. Malayalam cinema has been super productive during the Covid-19 lockdown. Despite filming restrictions such as limiting the crew to 30 members on a filming set at a time, the industry has managed to produce good content such as Fahadh Faasil’s recent hit ‘C You Soon’, which was a thriller that plays out the events through the lens of a smart phone. But ‘Love’ isn’t similar to ‘C You Soon’, maintains the lead actors.

Don’t miss it!

‘Love’ is out in the UAE cinemas.