“Vattolam Vaaniyare Kettukolka,” Biju Menon sings for Leela

Ranjith’s upcoming off road drive, Leela is already making hashtag with its two teasers. Now to add more spice to the potion, the makers released a promo song, in which Biju Menon records the popular song “Vattolam Vaaniyare Kettukolka.” The song went viral after the two teasers and is making waves in the social media platforms. Music Director Bijibal, director Ranjith and writer Unni R are also seen in the promo song video.

The recently released second teaser of the movie was also a viral hit as it introduces a naughty and fearless Biju Menon as Kuttiyappan and ends with a note, “Annanmaru Kaninnjal Thamasiyathe Varum,” which mocks the unofficial ban on the movie imposed by Producers Association. Leela, which features Biju Menon in the lead role, was all set to hit theaters, but the producers association has imposed a silent ban on the movie on the grounds that Ranjith was not cooperating with the organization.

Leela, being a talk of the Mollywood town for such a long time, is an adaptation of writer Unni R’s popular short story with the same name. The movie also marks Ranjith’s foray into another person’s writing material after the writer-director adapted TP Rajeevan’s Paleri Manikyam for the screen. And, for the first time in his career, Ranjith will shoulder the director post only as the script and dialogues are penned by Unni R.

The movie revolves around a complex and erotic relationship between Kuttiyappan, a middle aged mahout, and a young orphan girl Leela. The title role will be a real challenge and a milestone in the career of Parvathy as it demands a bold attitude as the role involves some erotic element attached to it. Kuttiyappan is a physically and mentally demanding character and capable of pulling out the best out of an actor. The movie was in the cards for a long time with Mohanlal, Mammootty, and Sankar Ramakrishnan’s names were associated with the project. But, none of them took off and Ranjith moved on to one movie after another.

Leela messed up with the strike of FEFKA and the makers accuse that the movie is facing an unofficial ban. The issue started when Cinema technician’s association FEFKA demanded a hike of 30 percent for their technical staff. But, the Producers’ Association denied the demand and called for a strike. Ranjith started Leela in Kozhikode and Rajiv Ravi started his untitled Dulquer Salman flick in Kochi, despite the call for strike. Rajiv Ravi was compelled to stop the shooting after so much pressure from the organization. But, Ranjith was adamant in his decision and went ahead with the schedule. As a consequence, Ranjith was expelled because he disobeyed the association’s call for the strike.

“It is true that I continued the shoot of my movie during the strike. They had ousted me from the association. I am planning to release Leela in April, but I got to know that they have given instructions to theaters across Kerala to not let my movie be screened. I cannot reveal the names of the theaters who gave me the information,” Ranjith said to TOI. “I make movies for the viewers. If my movie is not allowed to be screened in theaters, I will make CDs of it and will sell it setting up a stall in front of the Producer’s Association office,” he added.

Apart from Biju Menon, Leela also features Vijayaraghavan, Indrans, Jagadish, Parvathy Nambiar, and a number of theater actors in important roles. The movie is produced by Ranjith’s Capitol Theater and the camera is cranked by Prashanth Ravindran. Biji Bal composes the music and Manoj Kannoth is the editor.