The yet-to-be-titled film, helmed by debutant Arfaz Ayub, has Asif Ali, Amala Paul and Sharafudheen in lead roles
Last Updated: 08.32 AM, Mar 31, 2023
The Sahara Desert seems to be a hot spot of Malayalam movies, of late. After Jeethu Joseph’s Ram and Blessy’s Aadujeevitham, yet another film is currently being shot in the African desert with Tunisia being the location.
The movie, which is helmed by debutant Arfaz Ayub and presented by Jeethu, has Asif Ali, Amala Paul and Sharafudheen in the lead. OTTplay exclusively caught up with Arfaz, who is currently in Tunisia with the team, to know more about the movie.
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“It’s a drama with three main characters essayed by Asif, Amala and Sharafudheen,” says Arfaz. “The story happens in the Sahara Desert. All three actors are currently here shooting. We are filming an action sequence right now, with the action director Ramkumar.”
On the challenges of filming a movie in Tunisia, the director says that his first task was to convince the producers to shoot in a difficult terrain like Tunisia. “That was tough, not just in terms of the budget. It isn’t a very shooting-friendly country, especially in the region where we are shooting, which is in the middle of the Sahara Desert. It becomes difficult in terms of getting access and also logistics. But the producers were convinced because they knew that the script required a terrain like this,” he says.
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Though Arfaz is tight-lipped about the characters or the film’s story, he explains, “These are roles that the artistes have not played before, especially Asif. You would see a new Asif in terms of his look and his character’s emotional journey. I hope this will be a pathbreaking performance for him. It’s the same with Amala. She plays a strong character who has a lot of relevance and depth.”
The director also says that the film belongs to a “different time and space that we aren’t defining”. “It’s a fictional place and when you watch the movie, you wouldn’t be able to put a time period to it,” he says. The team is planning to wrap up its current schedule by April 15. There will also be portions in Kerala too.
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Though this film is Arfaz’s first as a filmmaker, he has been working in Bollywood for about 10 years and has served as Jeethu’s associate and co-director in the Drishyam director’s recent movies. “Jeethu sir had done the Bollywood film The Body, in which I had worked as an associate director. He then wanted me to join Ram as it had multiple locations abroad. I joined the Mohanlal-starrer in December 2019 and then the pandemic happened. So, I shifted my base to Kerala and since then I have done seven films with Jeethu sir as a co-director,” he concludes.