Nivin Pauly's Moothon is all set to hit the screens this week. The movie, which had its world premiere in Toronto International Film Festival and Asia premiere in Mumbai, is one of the much-awaited movies of the year. But Nivin, who has established a place in Malayalam film industry with talent and hard work and as one of the co-makers of the movie, said he is hardly bothered about box office numbers. “We want people to experience the movie. But we are not focused about box office numbers,” he told Onmanorama in an interview. Edited excerpts:
Moothon gave you a huge global recognition. What do you think about it?
Moothon had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival recently and Asia premiere at Mumbai. It was a first-time experience. More than happiness, I am proud to be present at such festivals where people talk about the movie that I am part of. More than that, it gave me an opportunity to showcase Kerala and its culture on a big platform.
Moothon director Geethu Mohandas has said in a recent interview that Nivin surrendered completely for the film. Tell us about the whole process.
I have never done such a character or listened to such a script before. So I did not know how to conceive the character. We had an intense training with the casting director Atul Mongia in Mumbai. Unlike the regular acting workshops, it was on the lines of how to approach the character from different angles. Prior to shooting, we visited the locations, and on a few evenings, we strolled through Mumbai's busy Kamathipura street donning the costumes and make-up. The gradual character moulding helped me well.
How about your role as gangster Akbar?
It breaks the set patterns of masculinity. Not that Akbar is free from negative shades, but the movie throws light on the incidents that made him a gangster. There are also scenes involving repentance and his fight for survival.
Moothon makes a strong political statement. Though the story is about a brother's search for his elder one, Moothon carries the director's affirmation that such things are happening around us. It is woven with action-thriller elements and portrays an emotional journey.
Will your fans accept Moothon since you are donning an unusual role?
People know Moothon is not a commercially loaded film. It has gone to places and hence people in Kerala must be expecting something from it. Malayali audience are sensible and they accept content driven films. I am sure the emotional aspect will work everywhere.
I will tell you an example. An elderly lady came with her son to Toronto. After watching the movie she told me that the film was haunting. She was so moved by the film that she kept telling me it was the best film she watched at the festival and she wanted to watch it again. Such words are indeed blissful to hear.
Are you concerned about box office numbers?
We are not worried about box office numbers. We want people to experience the movie. Geethu developed the movie with such a vision and it bears her stamp all over it. I am sure people will wait to watch her next movies in theaters.
Now you are gearing up for Thuramukham, which is directed by Geethu's husband Rajeev Ravi. What are your expectations?
I have associated with both Rajeev Ravi and Geethu. Geethu is a demanding director. She needs 200 per cent of contribution from artistes. While on shoot, she won't allow artistes to use mobile phones so they they will not loose track of the character. Rajeev Ravi works the other way. He will allow actors to interpret in their own way and he will gradually conceive the film his own way. And doing both the films helped me learn many things.
How do you find critical reviews?
Honestly, it is disheartening, at times, but such reviews are the driving force. You tend to criticize a person when you want the person to excel and I have always treated critical reviews positively. I have accepted criticisms and tried to correct myself.
The video from Toronto, in which you were seen running to greet friends, went viral on social media. Can you tell us more about it?
When I reached there, I knew that many of my friends were near the venue. I planned to call them up after the movie screening, but I was surprised to see them at the film screening venue. The small video clip went viral and what you saw on the video is a moment of excitement as I was meeting them after a long time.