I sacrificed a lot for 'Meppadiyan': Unni Mukundan

Unni Mukundan says he pledged his house for the production work. Photo: Facebook

Unni Mukundan’s poignant post congratulating 'Meppadiyan' director Vishnu Mohan for his National award win is winning the internet. He opened up about the struggles and financial crunch he faced during the filming of his pet project.

He started by thanking everyone for their support and congratulated director Vishnu for his big win. "This is my production company’s first film. Unni Mukundan Films takes pride in introducing you to the world through 'Meppadiyan'. We are expecting even greater films from you."

Unni's tone grew more emotional as he wrote about the struggles to bring out the first film from his production house. "Usually, I don’t really talk about my struggles. But this time, I am going to write from my heart."

"Meppadiyan was never easy. For bizarre reasons, we couldn’t kickstart the project. If this project which challenged the actor in me hadn’t happened, it would have ended up as just one of the 800-odd screenplays I read. In the beginning, there was a successful production house to back up Meppadiyan. But they stepped back due to personal reasons. Later, though we got another producer, our project got delayed for nearly a year. By that time I had gained 20 kgs. A few days before the shoot, our producer backed out. Vishnu fainted on the sets. That was the point when I decided to start my production house, though our country was gripped by the pandemic. We patiently waited during the lockdown time. While waiting uncertainly for finances, I decided to pledge my house and gather some cash. With the money, we started pre-production work. I also informed my parents that it was a do-or-die situation for me. They supported me.

Vishnu is aware of the difficulties I faced in this film. After the shooting started, we had a pre-release business deal with a satellite channel. Things had started to look up. I knew that the film was going to be a winner. A week before the release there was an ED raid in my house. That was enough for the satellite channel to back out. The OTT deal wasn’t happening either. When the COVID restrictions again resurfaced, certain important films were postponed. Many films were also relying on the OTT releases.

But then as far as I was concerned I had only a theatre release in my mind. I started my journey as an actor on January 14, 2012, and on January 14, 2020, I began my journey as a producer. Life had come a full circle.

Finally, 'Meppadiyan' got released in theatres. It received great reviews and family audiences loved it. We were able to pay off our debts and received wholehearted appreciation from all quarters. Though we received many awards, this is definitely very special.

Like Jayakrishnan in the film, I also bought some land to build a house. If Jayakrishnan bought 52 cents of land, I purchased 56 cents of land for the film. I was just trying to say that nothing was easy. 18 years ago when I travelled from Ahmedabad to Thrissur, I had no idea what was in store for me. All I want to say is that always listen to your heart." Unni ended the note with a gratitude note to Lord Ayyappa.

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