Unni Mukundan, the rising star of Mollywood is currently enjoying the success of his new movie Meppadiyan, directed by Vishnu Mohan. The film had its theatrical release on January 14, and it is now receiving positive responses from audiences and critics alike. However, a section of netizens is also blaming the movie for portraying right-wing politics in a positive manner in the film. They allege that Unni Mukundan has tried to glorify saffron ideologies through this movie.
In an exclusive interaction with IB Times India, Unni Mukundan talked about Meppadiyaan, the recent hate campaigns, and his upcoming projects.
Watched Meppadiyan yesterday. It was such a good film, and after a long time, Malayalam cinema has witnessed a thriller without murders and fight sequences. How do you feel now?
I feel very happy to know that audiences have warmly welcomed Meppadiyan, which is also my first production venture in the banner of Unni Mukundan Films Private Limited. I have undergone a massive physical transformation for this movie, and it is always happy to know that my efforts did not go in vain. I am thanking all the viewers for welcoming this film in such a grand manner.
Amid all these positive responses, a section of netizens is alleging that Unni Mukundan is trying to instigate and glorify right-wing politics through this movie, especially in the scene where a Seva Bharati ambulance is being used.
I really do not know what is wrong with that. Seva Bharati is an NGO that has been working in India for the last few decades, and they are offering free ambulance service. In this movie, the character Jayakrishnan which I portrayed is facing so many financial struggles, and it was at this point in time that he availed a Seva Bharati ambulance. These things cannot be considered a political statement. This film is just a journey of a common man who faces so many helpless situations in life. I am not blaming anyone or any particular community, but a section of people who are very strong on social media platforms are literally spreading hate campaigns, which is against artistic freedom.
I have no hidden agenda, I did not try to make any political statement. But it is undoubtedly painful that a section of people trying to target the movie for no reason. However, I am happy about the fact that family audiences have already taken up the movie, and they are appreciating the effort.
Another post that I saw on social media platforms was Unni Mukundan posing with the statue of Lord Hanuman, and it has stirred up some controversies.
Again, I would say, Hanuman Swami has been my inspiration since my childhood. As you know, I am a person who gives much preference to physical fitness, and for me, Hanuman Swami is my role model. I really do not know why people are taking everything in a negative sense. In my movie, I have clear reasoning for what I have done.
Tell me about your experience working with a debutant director like Vishnu Mohan.
Even though he is a debutant, Vishnu Mohan is undoubtedly a good storyteller and a director. He knows what to do, and he has a clear vision on how to portray it on the screen. In usual thriller movies, there will be fights and sometimes murders. However, through this film, Vishnu Mohan broke all these cliches and made it clear that a common man's life in its normal manner is also thrilling.
And personally, I am very glad about the fact that a talented person like Vishnu Mohan made his debut under my production banner.
Unni Mukundan has that Muscleman image among the general public. And with this movie, you have broken that typecast nature. How do you feel now?
You are correct. The majority of audiences believe that Unni Mukundan will not do a movie without fight sequences. That is totally wrong. I want to be part of good movies. Look at the case of Meppadiyan, there is no fight, no chases, nothing. It is just a journey of a common man. So, in the future, I strongly believe that I could do multifarious characters that fall into different genres.
Tell us something about your future projects.
I am currently busy with the works of my new Telugu movie. The film has Samantha in the role of the female lead. I am doing the role of the male lead in this film, and I have expectations about that project. Another movie that will take off soon is Bruce Lee, which will be directed by Vysakh. The filming is expected to begin in April. The film will be an in-and-out commercial entertainer.