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Siblings in uniform

P. K. AJITH KUMAR

Prithviraj and Mukesh act as brothers in Bipin Prabhakar's film `Khaki.'



CLASH OF IDEALS: Prithviraj and Mukesh in `Khaki,' which hinges on the conflict between brothers who work in the same police station.

When T.A. Shahid first told Prithviraj and Bipin Prabhakar the story of two brothers working in different ranks in the Kerala Police, the scriptwriter and the actor had not quite established themselves in Malayalam cinema.

As for Bipin, he was busy assisting directors like Shaji Kailas and Ranjith to think seriously about making a movie on his own.

When Bipin got an opportunity to direct a film, he remembered the story of the brothers Shahid had once told him. Prithviraj, with whom he had worked with in `Nandanam,' willingly agreed to accept the lead role of the younger brother, a sub-inspector.

As a result, the trio are in Kozhikode, shooting for `Khaki.' "The entire film will be shot in and around Kozhikode in one schedule," says the director, at the end of a long day. The day's shoot comprised scenes featuring Prithviraj and Mukesh (who plays the elder brother, a head constable) at a makeshift police station at Cheruvannur, on the outskirts of Kozhikode.

Urban and rural locales

"I decided to shoot the film in Kozhikode not because it is my hometown," says Bipin, "but because this city offers both rural and urbane locales."

Bipin says Prithviraj was the obvious choice for the hero's role.

"He is an actor with potential and I thought he was superb in `Vasthavam,' in which I had assisted the director of the film, Padmakumar. I wasn't surprised when he got the State award for the best actor for that film."

But the award came as a pleasant surprise for Prithviraj. "I never thought about the award until it was announced," says the star. `Khaki' is his first Malayalam film after winning the award. "I like my character Unnikrishnan. And I think the conflict between the two brothers is interesting."

The film revolves around that conflict. Elaborates Bipin: "For Ramakrishnan, the elder brother, the khaki police uniform is something he has to wear to ensure a comfortable life for his family. But, Unnikrishnan sees the same job as an opportunity to serve society. The story begins when the protagonist is transferred to the police station where his elder brother has been working for years."

Interesting character

Mukesh feels his is an interesting role. "And it feels nice to know that I am still in demand to play important characters like this. I have just acted with Dileep in Sathyan Anthikad's film, in which I have an excellent role, and now I am acting with Prithviraj. Earlier, I had done similar roles with Mammootty and Mohanlal," says the veteran actor.

Manasa, the film's heroine, who made her debut in Malayalam cinema a few months ago, plays Parvana, a television journalist. "My character is full of life, in sharp contrast to the soft-spoken, girl-next-door I am playing in `Big B,' my first film," says the daughter of yesteryear actor Kanakadurga.

Meera Vasudevan, who made her debut in Malayalam films with `Thanmathra,' plays the other female lead, Sethulakshmi, Ramakrishnan's wife.

The film, produced by Valiya Veettil Movie International, stars Nedumudi Venu, Mamukoya, Sudheesh, Janardhanan and P. Sreekumar. Cinematography is by Salu George, editing by Ranjan Abraham, art direction by Sreeni, and stills are by Mohan Surabhi. Lyrics by Girish Puthenchery have been composed by Deepak Dev. `Khaki' will reach cinemas in May.

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