Thuruth (Island), an upcoming Malayalam film will be the next project of Thekkapat Films Production house, which previously produced Thuramukham. The film will be made by debutant filmmaker Habeeb Muhamed and his team of technicians.
On May 28, instead of releasing the title or first look poster, the makers released a 4:33 minute-long video as the announcement trailer.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, director Habeeb said, “The announcement trailer is a blurb of our film that we shot for the purpose of pitching the film’s story idea to the producers.”
The 24-year-old Habeeb is a self-taught filmmaker who honed his skills by making short films and music videos before delving into feature films. He developed Thuruth’s script along with his friend Tony Joy Manavalan.
“A friend of mine who lives in a thuruth (island) in Ernakulam once told me about the smuggling of the banned alcoholic drink, arrack, that is prevalent in the locality. This caught my curiosity and I subsequently spent about four months researching the subject. With about 5 per cent inspiration from what I learnt, I developed the completely fictional story of Thuruth,” says Habeeb.
Speaking about the film’s plot, the director reveals that it is a survival drama that will show the existential crisis of the inhabitants of the island.
“The story revolves around the residents of a fictional island who are involved in smuggling arrack for their basic income. It will also show the islanders’ protest against the system and their struggles due to lack of development in the locality,” he adds.
Habeeb notes that the film is not set in any particular time period.
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The film’s technical crew consists of cinematographer Nikhil Surendran, editor Anandhu Chakravarthy, sound designer Aravind Babu, composer Luke Dennis, Vishnu Narayanan Rao as the creative director and Ivan James as the drone operator.
The technicians are Habeeb’s friends who are all part of the YouTube Channel Artship Creatives, which has produced several celebrity interviews.
Once Thuruth’s script was locked in June 2020, Habeeb and his friends decided to shoot a scene from the film in September of that year.
“We wanted to make our pitch convincing when we meet potential producers. That’s why we went the extra mile to make a ‘pitch-deck video’. Our idea was to convey the film’s storyline, mood, theme, colour palette and music through this short video,” Habeeb says.
This video was shot in four locations in one day. “We went on a recce to around ten islands in and around Ernakulam and finalised four locations for the shoot. The fight sequence was locked in a single take,” the director says.
“Since it was an experimental video, we had to produce it ourselves. We pooled in around Rs 10,000 to shoot this video. We also set up a studio unit in our house to do the post-production,” he adds.
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Once the final output was ready, Habeeb and his friends began reaching out to producers. “One day, we met Sukumar Thekkapat at a cafe in Ernakulam and showed him the video. He was impressed with our efforts and agreed to produce the film after we narrated the script,” says Habeeb, adding that it was the producer who insisted on releasing the video as a trailer for the film as they had worked hard on it.
Thuruth’s cast includes Sanju Prabhakar, Sreenath Gopinath, Mahendra Mohan, Nithin Salam, Friz Paul and Jesuj Antony.
“We are planning to rope in established actors from the Malayalam industry to play the lead roles in the film,” says Habeeb.