The film is produced by Stanley CS and Faizal Latheef under the Achappu Movie Magic and Mass Media Production banners. The teaser was released on September 25.
In conversation with Silverscreen India, debutant Nikhil, who has also written the film’s script, said, “Aanaparambu is a fictional village in the northern part of Kerala. The film follows a young boy, Ummar, and his six friends who are all ardent football fans and players. These boys, who are in search of a playground, meet three youngsters, played by Antony Varghese, Balu Varghese and Lukman. The trio support and sponsor the children in football tournaments.”
Ummar is played by PK Danish, who became an internet sensation last year for striking a zero-degree goal.
Nikhil revealed that the team put out a casting call for the film in 2019 and got around 2200 applications. “We wanted boys who could play soccer well and also had the ability to act. After multiple rounds of auditions and workshops, we selected seven boys. The football auditions were headed by veteran footballer and Kerala Blasters’ coach TG Purushothaman, while casting director Abu Valayamkulam was also part of the process.”
Aanaparambile World Cup is derived from a short story he wrote in 2009, the filmmaker said. “That short story had a lot of fantasy elements and could therefore only be made as an animated movie. So, I picked up one character from the story, Ummar, and placed him on a fresh canvas and built a universe around him, which took the shape of Aanaparambile World Cup.”
He also noted that all seven boys play central roles and they all have well-defined character arcs.
The film, which went on floors in September 2019, was predominantly shot in Malappuram in Kerala, with some parts filmed in Ladakh. “We chose to shoot in Malappuram as it is considered to be the Mecca of Kerala football. The film has a lot of tournament scenes, especially in the second half, so we wanted that vibe and crowd. That time of the year was world cup season and there were a lot of local tournaments as well. So filming in Malappuram helped us capture the mood and vibe of the season,” Nikhil added.
IM Vijayan’s son Aromal Vijayan has done the sports choreography for the film.
Nikhil also added that Aanaparambile World Cup will be a heartwarming out-and-out soccer film that will be enjoyed by children, family audiences, and football fans. “We would be happy if at least one child decides to play football after watching the film. We have also discussed a socially-relevant concern – the need for playgrounds for children to learn and play any sport.”
Asked about the release, Nikhil said the film will get a theatrical release by the end of this year.