ABU DHABI // The team behind the first Emirati-Indian film will be casting for lead roles this weekend in Dubai Media City. The local film-maker Nayla al Khaja has announced that her new project would be Mallal, a short film about a young Emirati couple who travel to southern India on honeymoon. The young wife is bored - that is what "mallal" means in Arabic - so she looks to the local community for inspiration. Her trip takes a dramatic turn on the last day.
"Our aim is to produce a top-notch visual masterpiece that will act as a calling card for our next project," said Ms al Khaja. The film-maker decided to explore South India's relationship with the Gulf because of the large number of expatriates from the region living in the UAE. She submitted the script to the Gulf Film Festival, and in April was awarded first prize in the script writing competition for Emirati Short Films.
After receiving funding and support from twofour54, the content creation zone in Abu Dhabi, Ms al Khaja travelled to Kerala to scout locations. Her shoot there, beginning in August, will mark the first time an Emirati director has filmed in India. Auditions for three lead roles, the Emirati couple and an adult Indian male, will be held from 9am until 6pm on Saturday. Those wishing to audition should send an e-mail to wafa@d-seven with a headshot and contact details.