Noted actor Kunchacko Boban would be celebrating his silver jubilee in the Malayalam cinema industry in March, next year. Interestingly, movie Ariyippu, 100th one in his career, would be hitting the screens around that time. It was around two and a half decades ago that his debut film Aniyathipravu had become a rage among the youngsters of Kerala. As Kunchacko hits ‘century’, he has shed his chocolate hero image to try out unique and amazing roles that have definitely given a thrust to his career.
When asked whether the experiences had transformed the actor in him or if he had deliberately made an effort to change tracks, Kunckacko says that he has really worked hard to bring a change in the kind of movies that he chooses. Not just successes, but failures too have been part of that incredible process. The actor cannot pick out a single movie that had failed yet managed to inspire him. In his quintessential humorous way, Kunchacko says he cannot do that as there have been quite a number of flops in his career.
Chackochan is enjoying a dream run in the OTT platforms too. His latest releases Nayattu, directed by Martin Prakkat and Nizhal, helmed by Appu N Bhattathiri are trending on the two major OTT platforms in India.
Your films are trending on both Netflix and Amazon Prime. How do you feel?
I deem it lucky that two of my latest movies are streaming in the leading OTT platforms at the same time. Nayattu was trending number 1 on Netflix. It was a movie that came to the theaters when the cinema halls were reopened after the pandemic restrictions were relaxed. Though the movie earned rave reviews, too many people couldn’t catch it in the theaters. That is the reason why the movie attracted a huge number of viewers on the OTT platform. Nizhal, meanwhile, boasts of a unique treatment. Though it is a thriller that deals with murder mysteries, they aren’t actually shown on screen. Nor does it have the typical style of investigation.
How did you land in Nayattu?
I have wished to do a movie with Martin Prakkat for quite some time. When Martin decided to do the movie Nayattu, I told him that I was interested in being a part of it. However, Martin was skeptical whether the role would suit me. The fact that I had played a policeman in Allu Ramachandran quite recently and Martin’s doubt whether I could pull off the role were the reasons for that. But, I promised to change my style and essay the role as uniquely as possible. Martin has really worked hard to transform me into Praveen Michael of Nayattu.
CPO Praveen in Nayattu doesn’t show the airs of a typical hero?
I couldn’t watch Nayattu in the theaters. Later, when the movie was released on the OTT, I sat down to watch it at midnight, with my mother. The movie started and we were past my introduction scenes. My mother was keenly watching the movie and didn’t make any comments. Usually, she comments when she watches movies. After some time, she asked, ‘Was that really you’? Though many had told me that they couldn’t see Chackochan in Nayattu, I was really happy when I heard it from my mother. Praveen is a policeman who doesn’t conform to the usual on - screen heroism. We had prepared quite a bit to give perfection to that character. Before the filming began, we had visited the Changanassery police station to see and understand how a police station works. Praveen has fewer dialogues but is intense when it comes to expressions. Martin had clear ideas about how the character should walk or even the subtle movements of his eyes and eyebrows should be. The credit for that character’s success goes to the impeccable hard work and preparation of the entire team.
The vadamvali (tug of war) scenes in the beginning of Nayattu had become a hit.
Lots of people called to congratulate me about those scenes. We had competed against a professional team in that scene. Though it was for a movie, the competition was real. Everyone who had been part of that team had prepared well by doing intense workout. Everything, including the professional way in which the rope is held, has been amazingly filmed. In fact, you could see that professionalism in every scene of Nayattu. Around ninety percent of the scenes in the movie have been shot in the chronological order. Moreover, spot dubbing was done too. All these factors have influenced my journey with the character.
Did you shift gears to the thriller genres after the enormous success of Anjam Pathira?
I had mostly spent my childhood reading and enjoying detective stories and watching action thrillers. I am a big fan of the detective novels and the James Bond movies. However, I wasn’t considered for such roles in the beginning of my career. My image of a chocolate hero might be the reason for that. I even doubt whether the industry had thought, ‘Can Kunchacko Boban really pull off the role of a policeman?’
‘Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho’, your first project as a producer, was also your 75th movie. You have donned the hat of the producer again in Ariyippu which is your 100th movie. Why was there a longer interval between the movies?
It was not intentional. I would say that both the movies happened in the right course of time. I did Kochavva Paulo after I was impressed by the story. That movie got noticed too. Ariyippu is directed by Mahesh Narayanan who is a close friend of mine. I think Mahesh might have edited my movies the most. Ariyippu has a unique theme. That is why I decided to produce the movie while acting in it.
Is your family happy that you are spending more time with them?
Izahaak was born after waiting for 14 years. I got a lot of time to spend with my family, watching each and every moment of his growth. That was the only reason for joy during the pandemic times. However, if this situation continues, then I am worried that he would ask me whether I have no job at all.