'Mahaveeryar’ a time travel fantasy and court room drama: Nivin, Abrid

Abrid Shine-Nivin Pauly
Combo image of Abrid Shine (L) and Nivin Pauly

The distance between ‘1983’ and ‘Action Hero Biju’ was two years. However, the special bond that actor Nivin Pauly and his frequent collaborator Abrid Shine share is so solid that the gaps between their movies do not matter. Their latest film ‘Mahaveeryar’ is all set to hit the screens almost six years after ‘Action Hero Biju’. The movie that releases on 21 July could be termed as a time travel fantasy or a courtroom drama. Meanwhile, Nivin Pauly will be setting the big screens on fire after three years. In a candid chat, Nivin and Abrid speak about ‘Mahaveeryar’ and their future projects.

Is ‘Mahaveeryar’ a visual treat?

Nivin: ‘Mahaveerayar’ is a mix of many genres and flavours. There is the element of time travelling, fantasy and comedy in this movie. This film does not follow the regular pattern of Malayalam cinema. The audience too would understand that when they watch it in the theatres. Even though there are multiple layers in this movie, the narrative is pretty simple and straightforward. When I listened to the story, whether I should act in it was not even a primary matter. But, I was sure that my banner should present it. This had happened when a producer wasn’t on board. So, I offered to bankroll the film. Some movies would exist forever. I felt that this film has the potential to become one.

Abrid: I got the inspiration for this movie from a story by M Mukundan. Initially, he wasn’t interested in making it into a movie. However, he was really happy watching it in the end. Even though there is the word ‘veeryar’ in the title, the film isn’t about any mythical heroes or their spoils of war.

We made this movie on a pretty hefty budget. We haven’t compromised on the cinematic quality of it. We shot at the legendary palaces of Rajasthan and humungous sets too. The costumes and music too are top-notch. It was Nivin who suggested roping in Asif Ali for the role.

How did Nivin – Abrid combination work out?

Abrid: When I told him the story of 1983, he was so enthusiastic to do it. I narrated the entire script just before we started filming. But, there was no story when we did ‘Action Hero Biju’; instead, I narrated the various incidents that happen in the movie. Those films happened only because Nivin trusted me. But, when it came to ‘Mahaveeryar’ I gave him the completed script to read. That was a first for my movies.

How were the three years when theatres were closed down?

Nivin: Everyone lost sometime during the pandemic. All I did then was a movie for the OTT. Many people ask me why I take long gaps between movies. It isn’t intentional. I do not wish to be a prolific actor. Neither, am I worried about the long gaps. ‘Mahaveeryar’ is a movie that should be enjoyed on the big screen. 'Padavettu', a movie directed by Rosshan Andrrews, and a Tamil movie directed by Ram sir are my upcoming projects.

Abrid: I think that Nivin dedicates himself to only one movie at a time. That must be the reason why the number of movies has dropped. However, that allows scope for becoming part of some grand movies.

What are your future plans?

Nivin: I have plans for a mega project. Besides, we are planning a sequel to ‘Action Hero Biju’. When the script of Biju’s sequel was ready, I could envisage it as a big project. 

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