‘Pathonpatham Noottandu’ will witness the coming together of legends like Arattupuzha Velayudhapanikkar, Kayamkulam Kochunni and Nangeli in one story. And director Vinayan promises he has pulled out all stops to present them on celluloid superbly.
As Vinayan makes his comeback through a big-budget film, he assures us that going forward he will only be making such grand films. As ‘Pathonpatham Noottandu’ releases in theatres this Onam, we caught up with Director Vinayan for a candid chat.
What led you to this project?
This is the biggest film of my life. 'Pathonpatham Noottandu' discusses a slice of history that has never been told before. Though Kayamkulam Kochunni has been portrayed in cinema and TV series, no one has presented Velayudhapanikkar and Nangeli. I belong to Ambalapuzha and have grown up hearing about their stories. Kayamkulam Kochunni and Arattupuzha Velayudhapanikkar have fought against each other. His name should have been mentioned prominently in renaissance history. He was even an inspiration for Sree Narayana Guru. Even the King respected Velayudhapanikkar.
How come you didn’t come up with such big-budget films earlier?
After ‘Albhuta Dweepu’ I had some altercations with some film groups. It came to a point that I wasn't allowed to make any film. But I refused to be cowed into submission and made films with minimal resources and technology for survival. Except for the momentary joy of having gotten back at certain people, those films never did any good to my career.
'Irupatham Noottandu' is introduced by Mohanlal and it ends with Mammootty’s voiceover. Honestly, save for my minor disagreements with some directors, I don’t have any ill feelings for anybody in this industry. It is only now that I got access to a producer like Gokulam Gopalan and was able to do my kind of big films.
You were always against stardom. Is there a change in your mindset now?
I have nothing against stars. And I have never had an issue with actors or talented artists. My objections were to some of the rules and hierarchies in cinema. And that continues. Organisations shouldn’t be there to ban artists from working. It was only due to the misunderstanding created by some of my filmmaker friends that the matter reached the supreme court. It was during the AMMA meet held in 2017 that Mammootty declared publicly that filmmakers like Vinayan should not be banned. Mammootty's and Mohanlal’s participation in ‘Pathonpatham Noottandu’ was their way of declaring solidarity with me.
What are your upcoming projects?
There is a film with Mohanlal. I am thinking of a suitable story for that. I might do a big film before that. My favourite character in Mahabharata is Bheema. I have prepared a one-liner with Bheema as the central character. We all have the visual of MT (Vasudevan) Sir’s version of Bheema in our minds. But my Bheema will not be the same. If the audience accepts Siju Wilson in 'Pathonpatham Noottandu', I will be doing that project with him. And he will be the only Malayali actor in that big-budget film. The film will feature a lot of actors from other languages.