We felt Lal, Aju Varghese will make a perfect combo in 'Kerala Crime Files': Director Ahammed Khabeer

The film features Lal and Aju Varghese in the lead. Photos: Instagram | ahammed_khabeer (serene_babu)

'Kerala Crime Files', which features Lal and Aju Varghese in prominent roles, has released on Disney+Hotstar. Ahammed Khabeer, who helmed the six-episode series, says he and writer Ashiq Aimar stumbled upon the story while visiting the Central Police Station in Kochi for a reference for another project.

“Both of us were working on another project and had visited the police station for that purpose. We got the thread for the web series during one of our discussions. When we pitched the narrative to Disney+Hotstar, they liked it,” he says.

Though the story was created from a thread they picked up from the police, Ahammed says 'Kerala Crime Files' is not based on a true story. "It's based on a prostitute's death and how a group of policemen from a local station are trying to solve it. Though it's a crime thriller, which is knee-deep in investigation, it also revolves around the personal lives of these policemen. This gives several layers to the series,” he says.

According to him, making a web series definitely has it's own set of challenges. “Unlike a film, you always you need to ensure cliff-hanger endings for every episode, which is a huge challenge. However, the journey has been exciting."

Ahammed adds there is no difference to how a web series and film are shot. “We wrapped up our shoot in two schedules (Kochi and Kollam) within 54 days. The scenes were shot at 78 locations. So, that way, there was no difference between shooting a film and a web series. However, the script for a web series is definitely different from the ones penned for films."

Each episode is 30 minutes long. “Since we kept it that short, it's essentially like you are watching a three hour movie in Malayalam,” says Ahammed with a laugh.

Ahammed adds he and Aimar were determined to create a series that would match the technical quality of popular shows like 'Delhi Crime', among others. “Malayalis have been exposed to shows like 'Delhi Crime'. We needed to ensure we could deliver the same standard and quality."

Ahammed has his own reasons for casting Lal and Aju in the series. “We felt Lal and Aju will make a perfect combo. Aju has not done many police roles, so we felt he would suit the character. He brings the right mix. Lal's is a more serious character, so both of them are perfect together,” he says.

Ahammed says he never gives too much importance to the casting, but only focuses on the content quality. “I believe that character artists too can add flavour to a film, if they are cast as the lead. I love to watch them blend with the story."

So what inspired a director who has previously helmed feel-good movies to focus on a genre-shift. “I have always loved crime thrillers. That is my favourite genre. I would have loved to start my career with a crime thriller, but directed 'June' and 'Madhuram' when the opportunity arose."

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