Malayalam News

I have tried to make a realistic and intense film: Mahesh Narayanan

Editor-turned-director Mahesh Narayanan says that even though he fictionalised the 2014 Tikrit nurses’ rescue mission,  it is still a true account of the ordeal

Published: 15th March 2017 03:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2017 03:41 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

In war-torn Tikrit, the survival of a few Malayali nurses is suddenly at stake.    Editor-turned-director Mahesh Narayanan’s Take Off is as raw as it gets.  

Based on an incident in 2014 when Malayali nurses were rescued from the Tikrit Teaching Hospital in Iraq, the movie is a fictionalised account of the struggle they faced to stay alive. 

Despite the cinematic liberties he took in making Take Off, which hits the  theatres next week, Mahesh talks about how he strived hard to bring their ordeal on screen, undiluted. 

Intrigued by the trauma
I was intrigued by the subject ever since I read about it. The media had already given  extensive coverage, but still I wanted to meet the nurses in person. At that time, I wasn’t sure about making the movie. But, their struggle touched me.

The  nurses hail from middle-class families and their aim was to survive. Luxury figured nowhere in their lives. Even while in Iraq, they didn’t have  any contact with the outside world. The saddest part is that even after reaching their homes safely, they haven’t managed to get employed. Then, I knew I  needed to tell the world about their struggle.

Fictionalised account
Take off is based on real-life incidents, but I have taken some creative liberties. The story and the characters have been fictionalised. Fahad Faazil’s character was inspired by Ajay Kumar, who was India’s ambassador to Iraq at that time.

We have taken inputs from the decisions he made during that critical time. However, there were reports that not all the Indians who were stranded in  Iraq could make it back safe. There were many speculations regarding this, but the Ministry of External Affairs was not transparent enough.

While Fahad Faazil plays the Indian Ambassador, Parvathy and Kunchacko Boban play nurses who are stranded in Iraq. They have given some intense performances and it is the audience who will rate it. I am sure that we have given our 100 per cent for the movie by retaining its  realistic flavour and not adding the usual cinematic elements. 

Stay up to date on all the latest Entertainment Malayalam news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.