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Love in the time of war and politics

PREMA MANMADHAN

`Lanka' focusses on the romance between two people who are supposed to be enemies.


The leading lady's role is as important as the hero's. It is a character with different tones. Mamata Mohandas



SRI LANKAN ADVENTURE: Suresh Gopi and Mamata Mohandas

`Lanka' is a movie for the Valentine's Day season. Suresh Gopi dons the role of a character with a roving eye. "You have never seen me in this bhava, it is indeed a flamboyant movie," claims the action hero, who, he says, turns all mushy, romancing with screen love, Mamata Mohandas. Lanka Lakshmy is the name of the leading lady.

"There are no fights in `Lanka,' the kind you expect," says the writer-director A.K. Sajan.

Sajan's last film was the action-packed `Violence.' Both the leading man and lady are negative and explosive characters.

"My character, a marine captain, is a womaniser. The climax of the movie is simply mind-boggling," Suresh Gopi says.

Different character

This does not however mean he has abandoned roles that see him with a gun in his hand.

"I know I will always do those roles, but to break the monotony, I need to do other types of characters and it is the first time that I have done this kind of a role, rather boldly, and I enjoyed it," he added.

For Mamata Mohandas, fairly new in Mollywood, it's a role of a lifetime, she says. "Lanka Lakshmy is bold, soft and sensitive. A very challenging role with a lot of scope for acting," says the girl who did the main role in `Mayookham,' and later acted in `Bus Conductor' and Jayaraj's `Adbhutham,' the movie made in two-plus hours, in an attempt to enter the Guinness Book.

Shot in Sri Lanka

The story of `Lanka', says Sajan takes place in Sri Lanka and it has political overtones. It's not local politics, but the international kind, he stresses. The Indian Peace Keeping Force, the strife in Sri Lanka, and how a naval marine commando is involved in the storyline lends it novelty. It's politics and love in the time of war.

"More than half the film was shot in Sri Lanka. Of course we had to overcome a lot of hurdles, as we could not shoot at the port or in Jaffna. We were not allowed to go to several sites carrying around our equipment. But we managed to do it, despite a big army presence in Colombo and adjoining areas.

"Back home, in Udupi, it was tough for art director Gireesh to set up the geographically appropriate sets, where the rest of the movie was shot," Sajan narrated. The love story is not the run-of-the-mill kind, as it is a romance between two people in opposite camps.

"The leading lady's role is as important as the hero's. It is a character with different tones. The hero and director helped me bring out the best in me," Mamata says happily.

Born and brought up in Dubai she has just finished her degree course in Bangalore.

Though she had set down her terms with regard to wearing glamorous clothes, she has had to cross the Lakshman Rekha in the movie, "because the role demanded it. I have done justice to the role and I know I will have to answer a lot of questions when the movie is released," Mamata says. A smooch scene has been included in the movie, says Sajan. Santhosh Damodaran has produced the movie under the banner of Dhamor. Shaji is the cinematographer while music is by Sreenivas and Rajesh Jayamohan. B.R. Prasad has written the lyrics.

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