In 2017, soon after Godha released, scriptwriter Rakesh Mantodi moved from Chennai, his home for over 13 years, to a small village in Vadakara, Kerala. “I spent my time trying to understand the flavours of the village and its people. Varavu is the culmination of my experiences in Vadakara,” said Mantodi, speaking with Silverscreen India about his directorial debut starring Tovino Thomas in the lead.
“The film includes a few myths and legends that are popularly believed in the Malabar region,” Mantodi added. Varavu‘s first look released on Saturday and the film is currently in pre-production.
Mantodi, who made his debut as a writer with Thira, said he had a basic idea about the story for his directorial debut. “Varavu is a story that happens in a small village- a mystery thriller with some mythical elements. ”
“Having lived in a metropolitan city like Chennai for a long time, I had doubts about whether I could write the story for a village-based film well. Besides mythical references, the film also has some realistic elements,” said Mantodi, speaking about his decision to move from Chennai to Vadakara.
“I took a house near my hometown in north Malabar,” he said. He added it was in Vadakara that he met the co-writer of the film- Sharesh Malayankandi, a police official from the Kozhikode cyber cell department by profession. “Sharesh lived near my house and I met him one day near a place where I play badminton often. He was also interested in films, like me, and a friendship began to bloom,” said Mantodi. Manu Manjith who has worked as a lyricist in Malayalam films such as Godha, June, Velipadinte Pusthakam among others, later joined them as a co-writer.
“All three of us decided to start living under one roof in Vadakara, to work on the script of Varavu,” Mantodi said.
While the basic idea of the story came from the Mantodi, the dialogues, characters and the way the story progresses were all a result of “teamwork”, Manjith said, speaking with Silverscreen India.
Mantodi said that scripting was completed in September 2020 and the team narrated the story to Tovino soon after.
— Tovino Thomas (@ttovino) April 24, 2021
While Tovino will play the lead, Mantodi said actor Sreenivasan will play the “second-most important role” in Varavu. The film will also feature fresh faces. “We are planning to include local people of North Malabar as character artists by training them,” the director added.
The shooting schedule for Varavu is yet to be finalised due to the ongoing second Covid-19 wave across the country, makers said. Shooting will take place in the North Malabar region of Kerala, they added. Varavu’s technical crew consists of Viswajith Odukkathil as the cinematographer, Guna Balasubramanian as the music composer, Nimesh Thanur as art director, and PM Satheesh as sound designer.