1971: Beyond Borders is an upcoming Indian war drama film written and directed by Major Ravi. It is the fourth installment in the Major Mahadevan film series, with Mohanlal reprising his role as Colonel Mahadevan and an additional father character, Major Sahadevan. It also features Allu Sirish and Arunoday Singh. The film is set in two time periods and is based on the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The film will release in Malayalam, Hindi, and Telugu languages.
Principal photography commenced on 31 October 2016 in Suratgarh, Rajasthan.
Mohanlal as Colonel Mahadevan and Major Sahadevan
Allu Sirish as Lieutenant Chinmay
Arunoday Singh as Lieutenant colonel Rana Sharif
Sudheer Karamana as Captain Aadhiselvam
Priyanka Agrawal as Sharif's wife
Zoya Zayed Khan as Pakistani doctor
Shafeeq Rahman as Jayakrishnan
The film is set in two time periods, with Mohanlal playing both Major Mahadevan and his father Major Sahadevan. The film will also see his transition from a Major to a Colonel. The film is based on a true incident and explores the friendship and life of two army officials. Mohanlal will be appearing in his fourth film as Major Mahadevan after Keerthi Chakra (2006), Kurukshetra (2008), and Kandahar (2010). Ravi said in an interview in October 2015, unlike the previous films in the series, Beyond Borders will be more like his last military film Picket 43 (2015), that "the focus will be on the individuals rather than the war, and will portray the relationships that are forged during the war". Rahul Subramaniam, Siddharth Vipin, and Najim Arshad is composing the music for this film.
In early August 2016, Bollywood actor Arunoday Singh was confirmed playing the role of Lieutenant colonel (Lt. Col.) Rana Sharif, a soldier of Pakistan Army. Before zeroing in Singh, there were talks with other actors. Ravi was particularly looking for a Bollywood actor to play the role. Singh's character was modeled after a real life soldier in the Pakistan Frontier Force Regiment during the 1971 war. Ravi said, it is not a negative role, he is also fighting for his country and will have equal importance as Mahadevan. In 22 October 2016, Telugu actor Allu Sirish himself confirmed his role in the film by announcing in Twitter. He plays Lieutenant (Lt.) Chinmay, an armoured tank Commando, of the wing headed by Mahadevan. It is the Malayalam film debut of Sirish. Ravi was looking for younger actors to play the role. There were also negotiations with Rana Daggubati and Vijay Sethupathi for the part. Mumbai-based model Priyanka Agrawal was signed to appear as Shariff's wife, in two different appearances—as a 65 year old and as her younger self. Hers is one among the two leading female roles in the film. It is also her feature film debut.
In early December 2016, it was confirmed that the production team negotiated with Nikki Galrani to play a Tamilian girl, a love interest of Chinmay, played by Sirish. She was busy with her Tamil films, but seeing it as a Mohanlal film and the debut of Sirish, she agreed on verbal terms. Galrani later opted out from the film in early January 2017 due to a schedule change and conflicting date issues with some of her Tamil films in contract. Her portions opposite Sirish were supposed to be shot at Pollachi the same month. Zoya Zayed Khan was confirmed in December 2016, to play a traditional Pakistani doctor. She is acting alongside Singh. Khan was cast after a screen test. Srushti Dange replaced Nikki, making her debut into Mollywood. Shafeeq Rahman was cast as Jayakrishnan, one of the soldiers under Mahadevan's command. Saiju Kurup and Sudheer Karamana also plays soldiers, among others. Asha Sarath is paired opposite to Mohanlal's Sahadevan, the mother role of Mahadevan.
The filming commenced on 31 October 2016 at Suratgarh in Rajasthan, India. Art director Saloo K. George built huge sets resembling army camps and bunkers. Built in Kochi, Kerala they were transported to Rajasthan. The filming was conducted in the deserts of Rajasthan, the main threat was the Viper population in that area other than the weather, the crew unaware of it first, worn heavy shoes and immediately ordered antivenoms on reaching the location. Chest congestion often occurred to the crew. Sirish joined the crew on 5 November 2016. Indian army base in Arjungarh, Junagarh and Mahajan in Bikaner were some of the locations in Rajasthan. After 25 days of filming, the schedule was wrapped on 23 November 2016. There was also a schedule in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.
The next few schedules underwent at various location in Kerala, beginning in Pattambi, Palakkad district. The Indo-Pakistani war sequences were planned to shoot at Uganda, later they decided to film it in Georgia instead, following the Kerala schedule. After finishing in Pattambi, they shifted to nearby Ottapalam in early January 2017. Then to Perumbavoor, Ernakulam district in the third week of January 2017, where sets were built resembling North Indian borders and warfare trenches. It was constructed in a 40 acre reclaimed land near Perumbavoor. Mohanlal joined the location on 16 January 2017, filming held during day and night. The team began filming its final schedule in Georgia on 31 January 2017 for a week. Beyond Borders is the first Malayalam film to be shot in the Eurasian country. Major Mahadevan's portions was shot in Georgia who is in a UN peacekeeping mission, action sequences. The filming wrapped on 5 February 2017.
The film will feature four songs composed by three music directors—Najim Arshad, Siddharth Vipin, and Rahul Subramanian. The film score is composed by Gopi Sunder. Singer Arshad debuts as a music director through the film. He composed a Hindi patriotic song written by a Kolkata-based lyricist named Kamal Karthik, the song come towards the end of the film. Vipin known for his compositions in Tamil films, is composing two songs—one is a romantic song picturised in the locations in Kerala. The other one is a motivational song that will follow after a speech delivered by Mohanlal's character. Subramanian composed a nostalgic song, sung by M. G. Sreekumar and featuring Mohanlal and Asha Sarath.
The release date is yet to get an official confirmation, it is reportedly set to release on 7 April 2017. It is planned to release in Malayalam, Hindi, and Telugu languages.