In his latest movie directed by Kannan Thamarakulam, Unni Mukundan will be essaying five different roles, including a female character. Any guess who helped the fairly tall and well-built actor pick up the feminine traits that are required to portray a woman on the silver screen convincingly? It was South India’s ‘Lady Superstar’ Anushka Shetty who offered him valuable tips on womanly behaviour, demeanour, style, clothing and appearance.
Unni revealed to Anushka about the role on the sets of Bhaagamathie, a trilingual horror film in which he was cast opposite to her, and she wholeheartedly doled out pieces of advice to portray the character of the opposite gender effectively.
In a free-wheeling chat, Unni, who has quietly carved his own niche in the South Indian film industry, talks about new projects and his foray into playback singing.
Game for challenge
I befriended Kannan Thamarakulam during the shoot of Achayans. I have always wanted to explore different characters and do challenging roles. When Kannan came to me with the script of Chanakyathanthram, I did not think twice to accept the offer as I found it very interesting. I will be playing five different roles in the movie, that include a female role and the title character of my breakthrough film Mallu Singh. The first look posters of my female avatar Karishma has already created a buzz on social media.
Initially, I was sceptical whether I would be able to do justice to the role because of my muscular body frame. A lot of credit must go to makeup man Pradeep Rangan who put in great efforts to transform me into a pretty woman. My eyebrows were shaped using the threading technique to lend an air of femininity and glamour. I was made to wear specially designed saris and blouses to hide my bulging muscles underneath.
A promising start in singing
“I enjoy music, but I’m not a great singer. Though I love foot-tapping numbers, I wanted to sing a melody to convince myself of my singing abilities. Fortunately, the two songs in Chanakyathanthram which I have sung are melodies. One of the songs, Etho Vazhitharayil’ is trending on YouTube and has been widely viewed and shared.
I’m obliged to director Kannan Thamarakulam and music director Shaan Rahman who offered me the opportunity and drew the best out of me. I was also incredibly lucky to have lent voice to the lines of an iconic figure in Malayalam film music like Kaithapram.
I got a couple of offers from Bollywood after two of my Telugu films became huge hits. I’m waiting for a good role to make my debut in Hindi films.
There is a movie theatre called Anupam near the Pragati English Medium School in Ahmedabad where I did my schooling. I was in the eight standard when Hrithik Roshan’s debut film Kaho Na Pyar Hai released. We literally fought to get a ticket to watch the movie. That experience fuelled my passion for movies and I started dreaming of watching my debut Bollywood movie with my teachers and classmates.
No plan to get hitched soon
I have been tactfully delaying marriage as long as possible. Friends are trying every trick in the book to set me up, but I have no plans to get married in the next five years.