Produced by Sofia Varghese, daughter of late Malayalam actor NF Varghese, under the banner NF Varghese Pictures, the film features child artists Barbiee Sharma and George Jacob in the lead roles.
In conversation with Silverscreen India, Babita says Pyali is a drama film that revolves around the bond between a sister and brother. “Barbiee plays the titular five-year-old, while Jacob plays her 14-year-old brother named Ziyah. The Kashmiri-origin siblings are orphans who live in a slum in Kerala. Despite facing many difficulties, Ziyah makes sure to do his best by his little sister. The story is about the siblings overcoming hurdles to fulfil their little desires.”
While Barbiee has previously acted in Hindi films like Baaghi 2 and Bharat as well as television serials, Babita says they selected Jacob after auditioning hundreds of kids. “We were very specific about the appearance of both children as the characters are of Kashmiri origin. Jacob was born and brought up in Dubai. Since everything about Kerala and the language was new to him, we trained him for two days on the dialect, the body language of a slum kid, and much more. Barbiee having previous experience, only needed to be taught the Malayalam dialogues.”
“Although Pyali is about two children, the film will cater to all age groups as the emotions conveyed will be relatable to all,” says Babita, adding that they wanted to make Pyali as no recent Malayalam film has dealt with a brother-sister relationship.
Babita and Rinn were previously working as an IT professional and an interior designer, respectively, before entering the film industry a few years ago. Pyali marks their feature directorial debut.
“We were both passionate about films in our own ways. In 2014, I got an opportunity to participate in a short film contest and my husband wrote the story for it. The 9-minute film titled Kiss won a bunch of awards in various film festivals. Following that, we made another short film to improve our understanding of the craft before working on our feature film,” says Babita.
She adds that they began writing Pyaali at the end of 2015 but only found a producer in December 2018.
Prashant Pillai has composed four songs for the film in Hindi and English, and Babita says they are planning to include a Malayalam song as well.
“Prashant helped us in roping in the technicians for our film,” she adds. The crew includes editor Deepu Joseph, who worked on Jallikattu, National award-winning art director Santhosh Raman, and Kerala State Award-winning sound designer Renganaath Ravee. “The art work plays a significant role in the film,” says Babita.
The film was shot in parts of Ernakulam, Fort Kochi and Vathuruthy Colony in July and November 2019.
The team of Pyali is hoping for a theatrical release, but a date has not been finalised due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.