Mohanlal in 'Villain' Image Credit: Supplied

Villain is certainly an intriguing title for a Mohanlal film.

The trailer reveals Mohanlal’s salt-and-pepper look and his conversation with Tamil actor Vishal in one scene tickles one’s curiosity further.

Vishal asks Mohanlal, “Ippo sollunga, Yaaru Villain? Neengala, naana? [Tell me now, who is the villain? You or Me?]”

This is Malayalam writer-director B Unnikrishnan’s fourth film with Mohanlal. Their last film Mr. Fraud, released in 2014, was a heist story and a mass entertainer.

In Villain, Mohanlal plays Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Mathews who has put in his papers. But due to a crisis in the system, he is brought back for an investigation.

Manju Warrier is paired opposite Mohanlal.

“This is not a mass entertainer,” said Unnikrishnan, who took three and a half years for the scripting stage alone. Villain is an emotional thriller, he said.

“I have been intrigued by issues happening around and wondered what is it to be a law enforcer. Does being a law enforcer always make one ethically correct?”

“We cannot categorise human beings into black and white,” continued Unnikrishnan. “There are shades of grey in everyone.”

Produced by Rockline Venkatesh, Villain was made to appeal to a pan South Indian audience and not Malayali viewers only.

Tamil actor Vishal is the counter force of Mathews, added Unnikrishnan and does not divulge more on his character.

“I have been impressed with Vishal’s work — in particularly his film Avan Ivan. He has typical Dravidian features, his tall height and sharp features lending a distinct personality. The role demanded an actor of his stature,” he said.

Hansika Motwani makes her Malayalam debut and is paired opposite Vishal. Raashi Khanna plays a cop.

Villain is the first Indian film to be shot on 8K resolution. Manoj Paramahamsa is the DOP.

Unnikrishnan elaborated that generally visuals are shot at 2K resolution and then upscaled to 4K resolution for theatre screening.

“It’s like stretching the picture and subsequently the quality suffers,” he said.

Filming in 8K and downscaling it to 4K ensures that this does not happen. “The visuals are sharp and distinct besides exposing a wider capture,” he added.

The ensemble cast includes Raashi Khanna, Telugu actor Sreekanth, veteran Siddique, Aju Verghese and Chemban Vinod Jose.

Every character is significant to the story, added Unnikrishnan.

On the VFX effects used in the film, Unnikrishnan said that it has been used as an extension of reality to supplement and enhance the story telling and not just flamboyantly.

Music is scored by the group 4 Musics.

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Villain releases in the UAE on November 2.