It’s only fair that a Malayalam film shot entirely in the UAE, coupled with a story set in this region would have its world premiere here. And that’s precisely what Malayalam director Lal Jose has decided.
His feel-good family drama ‘Meow’, starring Mamta Mohandas and Soubin Shahir in pivotal roles, will be showcased on December 23 at the Vox Cinemas Cineplex at the Grand Hyatt.
“We shot it from start to finish in the UAE. Barring a scene shot in Aluva in Kerala, the rest of the film was shot here. We were here for 50 days last December and it was such a stress-free and smooth shoot. Filming in the UAE has always been a joy because of the support we get,” said Jose in an interview with Gulf News ahead of the world premiere in the UAE.
It’s Jose’s third feature set in the UAE after blockbusters ‘Diamond Necklace’ starring Fahadh Faasil and ‘Oru Marubhoomikkadha’ with Mohanlal and Mukesh; both tales were culled from expatriate lives in this region.
“But ‘Meow’ is poles apart from these two films which did incredible business at the box office. If Faasil’s ‘Diamond Necklace’ touched upon the life of a wealthy and well-placed doctor in Dubai, ‘Meow’ is more rustic filled with middle-class, simple folks,” said Jose.
Jose and his team were camped in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah to bring the story of Dastakir (Soubin) alive. The trailer indicate Soubin playing a role of simpleton family man who’s thrown off by his wife taking off for an impromptu trip. But it’s no bible on women empowerment, warns Jose with a laugh.
“‘Meow’ documents 18 years of Dastakir’s life who comes to Dubai after his college education to hunt for a job.. His life is transformed after he arrives here and gets married to Sulekha (Mohandas). Their 16 years of togetherness is chronicled in this feel-good story and they also have conflict,” said Jose. While Soubin and Mohandas make an unlikely married couple, their union will make more sense once the film finishes, believes Jose.
This director, who is known for his realistic stories and pragmatic heroes, says ‘Meow’ is like a breath of fresh air in a sea of grim Malayalam features that have been doing the rounds.
His film will focus on the extraordinary lives of some ordinary folks living in a rustic village-like setting near Ras Al Khaimah. The hero runs a local supermarket called Sulu Market, a nod to his idol and real-life Lulu business mogul and billionaire Yusuff Ali M. A.
“It’s a pleasant satire that will make you smile and spread cheer … This is not your usual Gulf-based film where we only showcase glitzy building and a fantasy land … It’s set in a small village near Ras Al Khamiah called Shams [Al Bawadi], but their story will touch your hearts,” said Jose.
‘Meow’ releases in the UAE theatres on December 23.