Vineeth Sreenivasan: It’s not always our successful films that teach something – Cinemaexpress | Episode Movies

Vineeth Sreenivasan is no stranger to gray-shaded characters, but in Mukundan Unni staff, he promises a protagonist a few notches above the rest. Recalling our previous conversation in which he said the title character’s principles were in stark contrast to his own, I ask if it was precisely that idea – to play someone diametrically opposed to him – that compelled him to create that character to accept “Absolutely. In life there are all these rules that the system lays down and that we make for ourselves that we’re allowed to break in the cinema and it’s such a great feeling, I’ll tell you,” he laughs. “Mukundan Unni is someone who makes you think, ‘This guy is capable of anything.'”

He adds that he’s only recently been approached about such characters, a fact he attributes to the increased frequency with which Malayalam filmmakers have delved into gray characters of late. “Not that there weren’t gray characters before, but over the last 4-5 years we’ve seen an increase, haven’t we? Today’s filmmakers have a strong urge to see some actors in a way they haven’t done before – they want to do it as an image revamp – and now we see a lot of actors like this. Jagadish ettan in Rorschach is an example. Hopefully we’ll see similar surprises soon.”

Excerpts:

The follower of Mukundan Unni staff was pretty exciting. The film seems to carry both dark and comical elements.

It has some dark elements, but I wouldn’t call it too dark, although we follow events of this nature in Mukundan Unni’s life. Abhi (director Abhinav Sunder Nayak) didn’t treat it that way. If you look at the poster, there is so much white in it. (laughs) The novelty factor in Abhi’s filmmaking is that where many filmmakers would be tempted to treat such a subject somberly, Abhi went in the opposite direction. His cinematic style is one of great contrasts.

Knowing Abhinav’s principles, I imagine he came to you with a bound script and wanted everyone to follow it closely.

Here’s what happened: We started filming with a bound script, but later realized we couldn’t shoot in the order it was written, which Abhi wanted. The reality is that in a movie like this it’s practically impossible given the involvement of many actors like Suraj ettan (Venjaramoodu). It was impossible to get their dates in a way that would allow filming in the right order. Suraj ettan, for example, loved the script and came on board despite being busy with other projects. There is also Jagadic ettanBiju Sopanam and many others.

Since Abhinav is also an editor, there must have been opportunities to further improve the film and performances in post-production.

oh many Abhi surprised me because I realized that during the editing phase he also changed the genre of the film. He even changed the characters’ backstories. It was fascinating because the script I read and the film I was shooting for was relatively darker, but Abhi later did something that changed all that. From the films I’ve been in so far, I remember a lot of post-production improvements Oru Vadakkan Selfie and Aravindanthe Atithical, also — few editing improvisations, especially in the second half of the latter. At the time I thought they were a big deal, but after working with Abhi I realized they were tiny. He also played around with the aspect ratio (as seen in the trailer) and even incorporated some of his own quirks during the dubbing phase. I think you will get a clearer picture when you watch the movie.

So that was a very pleasant process?

Yes, it was so much fun. Shooting the film was, of course, serious work. We shouldn’t part with our characters. We had to memorize the lyrics, considering the use of long takes and all. If there was a small change in the scene or the dialogue, we had to reshoot. I would say that I actually enjoyed the film more during the dubbing. Again, Abhi surprised me with an idea of ​​how to change the mood of the entire film while dubbing the second half. We took turns playing the whole time depending on what editing improvisations came up and it was fun every time.

Aside from filmmakers, friends, family and within yourself, where else do you look for encouragement?

For me it’s not the different characters, but the opportunity to work with directors who think differently about what makes it different. I find that more exciting, even if my character doesn’t have much to do. The experience in a film contributes a little to my subsequent films, even if I direct something. It was only after working at Mukundan Unni that I learned that we can do so many editing improvisations – that if we keep our minds open, many things are possible. What I take away from this film isn’t that I had to play this character, but I got to work with a director like Abhi.

Malayalam cinema showed the first signs of a tectonic shift in 2011. They were part of some of the year’s landmark films, such as Traffic and Chappa Curonian. Can you tell us about the mood in the industry at the time?

We could feel a noticeable change while many projects were discussed. When I went to the shoot Chappa CuronianI was surprised to see the lack of a film camera, lights, or cars. When they stick on LED strips and tell you, “Stand here,” you couldn’t believe it. You brought a 7D camera (Canon) and you were wondering what the footage would look like on the big screen. Filmmakers began to ditch everything superfluous—including makeup; Some movies didn’t need it, and you still saw characters that seemed more human on screen, even when they showed emotion. Sensitivities changed everywhere. There was a surge of fearless directors and technicians with fresh perspectives. In the past, a technician could only become self-employed after working in the industry for many years, but this is no longer the case.

Sameer Thahir, who used to work under Amal Neerad, once told me that the older generation looks at a camera with fear and awe, while we only see it as a tool. Also, writing screenplays was considered something that not everyone could do at the time. There were only 5 or 6 prolific writers and everyone was queuing outside their doors. However, the new generation began to think, “No authors? No problem, I’ll write it myself.” Or get a writer and be a collaborator. We saw the main difference on the creative side. The other advantage is that we now have producers with creative backgrounds. And then actors like Nivin, Dulquer and Tovino came along. All shifts started at the same time.

You forgot to mention Vineeth Sreenivasan.

(laughs) Well, I wasn’t that keen on being an actor in the early stages. I only played roles that interested me; Luckily they worked. My main focus was – and still is – on filmmaking. As I said before, the excitement of acting comes from working with different directors. You know, even with the films that didn’t do well, I benefited a lot from working with their directors. For example, I did two films with Anwar Sadiq – Ormayundo Ee Mukham and Manoharam — which didn’t do good business, but they weren’t bad films either.

I loved Manoharam

You know what? Of all my films, my father treasured this one the most. When Anwar came to present the story, he told me that for this character he needed the Vineeth from the interviews, not the one that appears in the movies. Up until that point, I had never observed myself like this, and then I started observing my interviews and realized what to do. While doing Thankam (written by Syam Pushkaran) recently, I noticed that I could speak with the same ease as in real life. I should give Anwar credit for giving me that thought. I also loved working with Leo Thaddeus chettan in Oru Cinemakkaran. If I get the chance to work with him again, I will. That’s why I said that it’s not always our successful films that teach us something.

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