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The Costliest Malayalam Movie Ever!

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Mohanlal starrer Aakashagopuram, the first South Indian language film to be shot entirely in various locations in the UK with an international crew consisting of talents from Hollywood, UK, Bollywood, Tamil and Malayalam film industry is all set for global release on August 22.

The film, by National award winning director K.P. Kumaran, has been shot by cinematographer Santosh C. Thundiyil and stars Bharat Gopi, Sreenivasan, Swetha Menon, Manoj K. Jayan, Geethu Mohandas and Nithya in important roles. The movie, according to the producers, is billed as the costliest ever in Malayalam.

Set among the Indian immigrant community, Aakashagopuram is an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's classic play 'The Master Builder', which was first published in 1892 and first performed in Berlin on January 19, 1893.

The play (The Master Builder) depicts the story of a middle-aged architect, Halvard Solness, whose single-minded focus on his job has hardened him and prevented him from having a meaningful private life with his wife Aline. In his firm, he has a dying assistant, Knut Brovik, who is now demanding that his son Ragnar be given more responsibilities in the work. However, Solness fears that he will be eclipsed by a younger generation of architects, and refuses to allow Ragnar either to design original houses or to leave the firm.

Into this tension comes Hilda Wangel, a vivacious young woman who built a large church in her home town and climbed to the top of its tower during its dedication ceremony. In long conversations with Hilda, Solness describes his career and his frustration with how his ambition has kept him from achieving true satisfaction. The climax of the play deals with a new house which Solness has been building for himself and his wife. The house features a tall tower which both Solness and his wife fear is too great for him to climb in the dedication ceremony. At Hilda's repeated requests, Solness climbs to the top of the tower, but then falls to his death.

"Almost all the Malayalees in their 60s are familiar with Isben's work and can identify with the film. Very few of the new generation might have heard about the Norwegian playwright. As an actor, I feel it is a blessing for me I feel honoured and lucky to be a part of this film," Mohanlal told reporters in New Delhi during a special screening of his film.

Director Kumaran said that this film might be taken as an attempt to expose the film to a wider audience. "This project, I feel, is an attempt to break through existing conventions. It is the first time that an Indian film has been shot entirely in London. Conceiving and executing such a project is rare," he added.

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