Dubai: Comparing his upcoming movie 'Odiyan' to the Telugu blockbuster 'Baahubali', filmmaker V A Shrikumar Menon said that the film will make Malayalam cinema incredibly popular across the country. He was speaking at a media interaction held in Dubai, as part of the movie’s international release.
Shrikumar expressed confidence that 'Odiyan' would catapult Malayalam cinema to glory and to greater international acclaim.
“It is not the lack of talent or shortage of money that’s the real problem faced by Malayalam cinema, but the lack of confidence. In fact, the best movies in the country are produced in Kerala. We have amazingly talented artists and technicians. However, the Malayalam cinema has not been able to develop its reach globally, where our movies could be noted by international audience. I am sure that 'Odiyan' will make that happen. The movie features some of the best artists and technicians in the Malayalam cinema industry. This movie will be an inspiration for others to make films on a bigger canvas,” noted Shrikumar.
Mohanlal-starrer 'Odiyan' will hit the theatres in India on 14 December. It will also have an international release on the same date. The makers said that 'Odiyan' will be released in
around 37 foreign countries including the United Arab Emirates.
Though not seen by anyone, the myth of Odiyan is quite popular in Kerala. Shrikumar revealed it was producer Antony Perumbavoor’s decision not to limit the movie to just Malayalam, as the world needs to see the beautiful portrayal of the indigenous myth, and most importantly, the charming performance of Mohanlal who lived as the character for around 150 days. He added that Malayalam cinema too has an impressive global market.
Citing the example of the Tamil movie 'Sarkar', which garnered a whopping Rs 6.5 crore from Kerala, Shrikumar asked why Malayalam cinema was not being able to earn more than a crore of rupees from Tamil Nadu.
“Antony Perumbavoor has entrusted such a challenging topic with a debutant director and also markets it in a prolific way. It proves that, not just 'Odiyan', but Malayalam cinema can be marketed on a global level,” explained the filmmaker.
Shrikumar stressed that the Malayalam film industry needs to elevate itself from the stereotyped plots and situations which are made on the modest budgets of Rs 3 crore. He hoped that his movie would be a beginning for Malayalam cinema to reach the international audience and inspire filmmakers to dream cinema on bigger canvas.
The director said that he had worked with 100% honesty and that his greatest strength was the producer's words that the movie’s budget would be what was spent when the film got completed.
He assured that the audience will get a glimpse of the charming Mohanlal whom they loved to watch in movies like 'Kilukkam' and 'Thalavattom'. Similarly, Manju Warrier’s character named Prabha would be one of the strongest female leads in Malayalam cinema.
Manju back to old form
Shrikumar observed that people who complain that Manju Warrier’s performance, post her comeback after 18 years, do not match up to her famed characters in movies like 'Pathram', 'Kanmadam' or 'Aaram Thampuram', do not realise that the plots, situations and characters in Malayalam cinema have undergone a significant change. Saying that Manju has tried to portray different characters onscreen, Shrikumar assured that he would return the old Manju Warrier, who will be seen in a strong and endearing character in 'Odiyan'.
Elaborate visual effects play a significant role in 'Odiyan'. He said that veteran actors like Prakash Raj and Sidhique too have extraordinarily portrayed their roles.
The filmmaker added that scriptwriter Harikrishnan, cinematographer Shaji, editor Johnkutty and art director Prashant Madhav would be noted for their amazing work in the movie.
“Mohanlal who brilliantly essayed the character’s transformation in two different eras will become busy, receiving countless awards, after the movie’s release. I consider it extremely fortunate to have Mammootty’s presence, though through his sound, in our movie. 'Odiyan', in fact, adorns the number one position in the popular movie rating website imdb’s ‘most trending list’.
The movie created history, when its pre-release booking in the UAE began even as early as 25 days ago. In Kerala, police had to lathi charge at some places as the crowd was uncontrollable when the pre-booking facility was opened. It seems 'Odiyan' has worked his charm on the box office as well” Shrikumar noted.
Meanwhile producer Antony Perumbavoor hopes Mohanlal’s incredible efforts would be paid off when the movie releases. The producer admitted that he took up the responsibility to bank roll the big budget movie after many discussions. “The presence of a legendary actor like Mohanlal is obviously the strength of the movie. It would be an achievement for the Malayalam cinema if 'Odiyan' becomes an inspiration for others to perceive movies on a bigger scale,” said Antony.
Noufal Ahmed and Brijesh, directors of the World Wide Films which distributes the film globally, too took part in the presser. The movie was launched globally at the festival city in Dubai, at 7 pm on Saturday. The star-studded event was attended by Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Sidhique and Shrikumar. It was an open event with free entrance for the audience.