Malabar in Kerala is one of the few places in India where football rules people’s hearts over cricket. Sevens football, a version of the game which has been played in the coastal region for many years, has now found place in an upcoming Malayalam film, Sudani from Nigeria.
The trailer for the film was released on Saturday. Starring actor-director Soubin Shahir and African actor Samuel Abiola Robinson, the film is about a football player from Nigeria, who joins a football club in Malappuram for the Sevens.
Sevens football is played between teams which have seven players each, and the games are held between November and May every year.
TNM reported earlier, “Come summer and the small towns and villages in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Kasaragod wake up to soccer frenzy. It is a different kind of soccer called Sevens. There are only seven players in each team; the rules are different, the playing field is smaller and rigorous refereeing doesn’t kill the excitement of the game.”
The Sevens, while approved neither by the Kerala Football Association nor FIFA, are hugely popular with the villages having their share of clubs and rivalries. Players from African countries also come to play in the Sevens, and collectively take home around two crore rupees for a season.
Directed by Zakariya, the film is touted to be a comedy. It is produced by Sameer Thahir and Shyju Khalid, with a screenplay by Muhsin Parari and Zakariya. Rex Vijayan has composed the music.
“While Samuel finds a fanbase, an injury plays spoilsport and he has to stay with Majeed’s (Soubin Shahir) family for two months,” Zakariya, a native of Malabar himself, told The Hindu.
“The film also highlights how many sponsors often fail to think beyond the game when they ‘import’ these players. They are not prepared for eventualities such as injuries,” Zakariya added.
‘Kurrah Football Anthem’, a song from the film, was released earlier, and is already a hit with the fans.
Actor Soubin, who also plays the owner of the football team that brought Samuel to Kerala, was earlier in the news for his directorial debut Parava, a coming of age film starring Dulquer Salman.
Watch the trailer of Sudani from Nigeria here.