Photo Source: Eighteen Hours Poster

Eighteen Hours, the upcoming Malayalam survival thriller film, is set to premiere on the Manorama Max OTT platform on August 1, director Rajesh Nair announced on his social media handle on Wednesday.

Produced by Rajesh Nair and Salil Sankaran, the film will also have its television premiere on the Mazhavil Manorama channel on August 1 at 6 pm.

Eighteen Hours marks Rajesh Nair’s second collaboration with scenarist duo Vinod & Vinod (Vinod Jayakumar and Vinod Vijaykumar) after the 2015 Malayalam comedy-drama film Salt Mango Tree.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, Vinod Jayakumar said the film’s story takes place in 18 hours as the title suggests. “A bunch of school students who are travelling in a bus for an event are abducted by some kidnappers. The film is about the school girls’ efforts to survive,” he added. 

IT professionals and childhood friends hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, Vinod & Vinod had previously written another script that did not materialise due to Covid-19 induced lockdown, said Vinod Jayakumar. “We did not want to sit idle during the lockdown and so, when we got an opportunity, we revived a three-year-old script of ours, which became Eighteen Hours.”

“Earlier, we had plans to rope in a well-known star cast for the film, but that did not happen due to date issues. So we decided to cast newcomers,” said Vinod, adding that they shortlisted actors for the school girls’ roles through online auditions and then selected the final cast after a small workshop.

The actors who essay the kidnappers in the film have previously appeared in Rajesh Nair’s 2019 film Thrissur Pooram

Eighteen Hours also features Former Miss Kerala Indu Thampy, Shyamaprasad, Vijay Babu, Ratheesh Vega and Nihad Ali in pivotal roles. 

“Shyamaprasad plays a cop who investigates the abduction case. The film is narrated from his angle. We chose him for this role as he has not played any cop character in the recent past,” said Vinod. 

Vinod revealed that the film was shot in the forest regions of Thiruvananthapuram’s Ponmudi Hills for around 29 days between November 2020 and January 2021. He also noted that the 1-hour and 45-minute film has many action sequences choreographed by R Mukesh.