The second wave of the Covid pandemic has waned in India, and the country is slowly going back to normalcy. Theaters that remained shut for several months due to the pandemic are now open, and audiences are eagerly waiting to see their favorite stars gracing the big screens with style. In Mollywood, Dulquer Salmaan's Kurup was released on November 12, and it is receiving unanimously positive responses from all corners. Another anticipated film that will have its release soon is Suresh Gopi's Kaaval, directed by Nithin Renji Panicker. Produced by Joby George, in the banner of Goodwill Entertainments, Kaaval will have its grand theatrical release on November 25.
Expectations surrounding Kaaval have already reached sky high, as it marks the union of Nithin Renji Panicker and Suresh Gopi. Nithin Renji Panicker, son of ace writer Renji Panicker made his Mollywood debut with the movie Kasaba. And now, after three years, the young filmmaker is back with Kaaval, which also has his father Renji Panicker playing a crucial role.
In an exclusive interaction with IB Times India, Nithin Renji Panicker talked about Kaaval, his future projects, and the influence of his father while writing scripts.
The Malayalam film industry is slowly coming back to the track after the pandemic, and your movie Kaaval will be having a grand theatrical release on November 25. How do you feel now?
It's been almost two years since theaters are closed. And as you said right, Kaaval is releasing on November 25. I have actually mixed feelings regarding the release of Kaaval. We are still not sure how people will respond to going to a theater and watching films. Kurup has been released and is showing positive signs.
We are aware of all the problems people have, in general, and their inhibitions while visiting places where people gather. However, things have changed now, and we can see several people visiting malls, restaurants, etc. We strongly believe that people will visit theaters also to watch Kaaval.
How risky was it to hold a movie for quite some time without making an OTT deal, especially at a time when there was no guarantee regarding theater reopening?
Holding a film for such a long time is a very risky business, and basically, the risk is being taken by its producer. He has spent so much money on this movie. It's been almost six months since this movie was censored. We were actually not sure when theaters will be opened, and if opened, at what capacity. Fortunately, the producer of Kaaval, Mr Joby George decided not to sell the movie to the OTT platform, so that people can come to theaters and can watch the movie.
Kaaval marks the onscreen union of Suresh Gopi and Renji Panicker (Nithin Renji Panicker's father), an actor-writer duo who had delivered several blockbusters. How was your experience directing them?
It was an amazing experience. I have been a fan of my father's scripts in which Suresh Uncle acted, which includes Pathram, Lelam, Ekalavyan, Commissioner, and Mafia. Bharathchandran IPS was my first film as an assistant director. So, I always wanted to make a movie with Suresh Gopi in my father's script. My films are quite somewhere on the lines of the movies they made, not as big. They very well know what I need from them, and how they should perform. I think people will enjoy watching Suresh Gopi and my father on screen.
Give us a glimpse of Thampan and Antony. The trailer indicates that the film is set in two generations. Can we expect a massive transformation of Thampan in the second half of the movie?
I cannot say much about Antony and Thampan. The only thing I can say is that the film is set in two periods; one in the early 2000s, and the other is the present, I mean the time just before the pandemic. The flashback portion has a 90s vibe in it, whereas the present portion is realistic and a bit more emotional. That's all I can say as of now. This film has two periods, and both these periods are being treated equally, in terms of performances, sequences, visuals, sound etc.
All the songs from Kaaval are huge chartbusters now. Tell us more about Ranjin Raj and his compositions for Kavaal
Yes, Kaaval has got two songs. I have been a fan of Ranjin since I heard songs from the movie Joseph. Ranjin was with me in all stages of Kaaval's development. If you love the songs in Kaaval, you will even more like the background score of this movie.
Can audiences see that vintage Suresh Gopi in Kaaval?
As I said earlier, I am a huge fan of Suresh Gopi. Audiences can see a small bit of vintage Suresh Gopi in the flash-back scenes. People who love vintage Suresh Gopi will have a treat for sure in those sequences. And you can also see the contemporary (smiles), I mean the very current Suresh Gopi. His performances in both these periods are very different.
How crucial were Renji Panicker's involvement and interference in the making of Kaaval? Do you consult your father after writing scenes?
Achan's (father's) character in this movie was not actually written for him. It was just a few days before the shooting that we decided to make this movie with Achan. I am a fan of my father. I love all his movies, Pathram, Mafia, etc. I even like Dubai, even though it did not perform well at the box office.
Once, I complete my third draft, I mean, my final draft, I will hand over it to Achan. I value his opinion and corrections. Even though most of my films look like Renji Panicker genre films, they are actually not. After completing my script, I will always make sure that he reads it. However, when it comes to making, things are different, and Achan is totally an actor when he comes to the sets.
Audiences are eagerly waiting for Lelam 2, a sequel to Lelam. Can we expect that movie soon?
Even I have been waiting for Lelam 2 for the last six years. The script obviously should be written by Achan. However, acting has kept him busy. So he has to be free to complete the script. That is the reason behind the delay. We have already planned three plots for Lelam, but the problem is his time, probably next year, I am not sure. But I badly want to work with a script written by my father.
Tell us something about your future projects
Future projects, I am not sure actually. I have some plots in my mind. I have talked to a few people. After the release of Kaaval, I will start the scripting work. It's too early to say, but just telling you that my upcoming film will be a romantic thriller. I will definitely update you once I start the writing works.