After being screened at film festivals in Toronto and Mumbai, Nivin Pauly’s Moothon will hit screens this Friday.
In this exclusive interview, Nivin opens up about completing a decade in the film industry and Geetu Mohandas directorial Moothon.
Below are excerpts from a conversation:
You made your debut with Malarvaadi Arts Club in 2010. When you look back, what are the things you are grateful for?
I am definitely grateful for the friends I have made in (the Malayalam film industry). I was lucky to have worked with talented directors and good scripts. Somehow, I was always in the right place at the right time. My films became hit one after another. I had made my circle, where I was always focused on doing films. I was talking to my mother recently about how 10 years just flew by. I would like to stay in the industry for at least the next 10 years.
Amid your busy schedule, did you get to spend enough time with your family in the last 10 years?
Not much. If the shooting is in Kochi, then yes. But, I think it is time that I start balancing it (work-life) properly. I want to spend more time with my family, especially my children.
How has the Malayalam film industry has changed in the last 10 years?
Right now, we have many talented filmmakers and writers who are making interesting films on a lesser budget. When I go to Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, I am told how much people there like Malayalam cinema. And it makes me feel proud. It is also a good feeling.
Were you happy and satisfied with the response to your latest film, Love Action Drama?
Yes. The film was financially successful. And our main aim was to entertain the audience during the festive season (It released for Onam). And I think we achieved that. And it is not easy to make people laugh.
Do you enjoy doing comedy films?
I loved to do that. I enjoy improvising humor and laugh a lot while I am at it. The biggest hits in my career have been my romantic-comedies. But, I also enjoy doing serious films.
After working so long in the commercial space, what was your experiance working on the sets of a film like Moothon, which takes you away from your comfort zone?
It was a great experience to be on the sets of Moothon. And to be working with talents like Rajeev (Ravi), Anurag (Kashyap) and the complete technical team. These people are the best of the best in the industry. The way they conceive a scene and shoot is completely different. We shot in live locations. It was sync sound and there was no light setup. We shot using a small camera. There was no caravan. Geetu Mohandas (Moothon director) wanted her actors to become the characters that they were playing. Mobile phones were not allowed on the sets. We were not allowed to crack jokes on the sets. We had to be in our character all the time. It was a totally different experience.
What really inspired you to break out of your comfort zone and do such an emotionally and physically demanding character?
Every actor loves to experiment. I can keep doing rom-coms but I want to do different types of films. Hey Jude is not similar to Kayamkulam Kochunni or Mikhael. I want to mix it up.
In Moothon, you have assumed a different avatar. Not a loverboy, who the audience has come to love. How do you think this film will play to the core-base of your fans, which is mainly made of women and children?
I don’t know (laughs). This is not my usual film. But, I can promise that the audience will have a great experience watching it. The audience will remember this film and the director (for a long time). I am sure that it will be a memorable film.
What is your view on the current phase of the Malayalam film industry where all kind of films is being accepted?
As I said earlier, we have many interesting filmmakers joining the industry. And I think people also prefer (these days) meaningful films to commercial films. Everyone is watching so much content online. We can’t match the production cost (of international shows and films). But we can focus on the content right now. Content-driven films are something that people also want now.
Is the evolving taste of the audience for good films the reason why you are experimenting with your films?
I pick films which I want to do. I pick the scripts which excite me. It must be different from the film that I did before. These are are some of the things I consider while selecting my films. There are times you get it right and at times, you go wrong. It is a continues learning process.
How did you approach your character Akbar in Moothon? Did you do any homework for that?
Geethu told me that Akbar was a very intense character. And I wanted to approach the character in a new way. I wanted to start from scratch. We had a workshop with Atul Mongia in Mumbai. Instead of acting as Akbar, he helped me to find the Akbar in me. It all started from there. And you have other strong actors in the cast who push you to do better.
How did working in this film change you as an actor?
I don’t know. People should say after watching my other films (laughs). We learn something from every film. I think it affects me subconsciously and it will improve my performance in future films.
Can you describe Akbar for us?
I think if I can describe Akbar in one word — confused. I can’t reveal more.
Moothon can be tagged as your first pan-India film? Are you nervous?
It is not a proper pan-India film like KGF or Baahubali. This film belongs to a different category. I loved the response the film got in Toronto and Mumbai. Let’s see what happens on November 8.
Do you have any plans to enter Bollywood?
People (in Bollywood) should also want to work with me (smiles). And I should also get some good scripts.