On Wednesday, actor Mohanlal introduced his fans to Manickan Odiyan, the character he plays in VA Shrikumar Menon’s upcoming fantasy thriller Odiyan, which will release in 2018.

The movie’s teaser opens with a glimpse of the night sky as the clouds begin to envelop the moon. Smoke rises from the ground and reveals a young Manickan Odiyan (Mohanlal), clad in a vest and a mundu. “Thank you time,” says Odiyan, “for defeating the many years that have passed and taking me back to a more eventful time from my youth, back in Thenkurissi. This Manickan Odiyan is now ready. Now the game will begin. Shall we start?”

The film, covering a period from the 1950s to the 1990s, is about the first “quotation gangs” in Kerala – a now widespread and notorious network of mercenary killers with several myths associated with them – director Menon told The Times of India. “They disguised themselves as animals during the night to scare the enemies,” said Menon. “Mohanlal plays the last of the Odiyan clan.”

Menon said the movie would be a thriller, with elements of magical realism.

Mohanlal is believed to have lost 15 kg to play the younger version of his character in the movie.

Produced by Aashirvad Cinemas, Odiyan also stars Manju Warrier and Prakash Raj. This is ad film maker Menon’s debut feature movie. Production on the movie is still underway and the release date is yet to be announced.