South Indian actor Kunchacko Boban is keen to reinvent himself.
In his latest Malayalam film ‘Allu Ramendran’, out in UAE cinemas now, Boban plays a police jeep driver whose life goes out of gear when someone tries to mess with the wheels of his vehicle.
As far as premises go, it’s an unusual one.
“Malayalam cinema is going through an interesting phase where simple threads and stories are taking centre stage,” said Boban in an interview. Ahead of his film premiere in Sharjah last week, Boban spoke about his career in films, his need for re-invention and more.
What’s your new film ‘Allu Ramendran’ about?
It’s a thriller with elements of comedy, emotions and drama. It’s a wholesome package that’s minimalistic when it comes to humour or emotions. It’s a fun ride for the whole family and cuts across generations. The situations and characters in this film are relatable too. It’s set in a remote area in Kerala and I have noticed that Keralites are nostalgic about such tales cherishing such moments.
In 'Allu Ramendran', you will see a tough side to me as an actor. My character, Ramendran, seldom smiles or laughs. He’s a sore bear. The title is peculiar too… Allu means deliberately puncturing a tyre of a vehicle with the use of an object like nails… It’s a colloquial way of saying someone deliberately punctured a tyre. I play a police jeep driver who leads a rather boring, ordinary life until someone tries to throw his existence out of gear. Nothing exciting happens in his life until someone sets out to puncture the tyres of his jeep deliberately. He has no clue why somebody is out to get him.
Ramendran is a guy who has never hurt anyone in his life. He’s an ordinary chap who hasn’t the vaguest idea as to why someone is out to sabotage his happiness. Eventually this event consumes his life and he is intent on finding out who’s disturbing his ordinary life.
Films such as ‘Kumbalangi Nights’ — starring a mix of superb talents — are winning hearts with their simple style of storytelling. Do you think that’s the way forward for Malayalam films?
Now the established stars or previous hit-makers from films don’t matter anymore. Directors don’t matter too - and that’s a welcome change. Quality films that can entertain work with the audiences. People are going back to their roots and are more grounded now. They want films that are made in a realistic manner with a strong platform of actors supporting it. They will now throng the theatres for good content alone. They are also quick to reject films that they don’t identify with. It’s a simple give-and-take policy where we need to make good films and they will, in turn, appreciate it.
As an actor, you have constantly reinvented yourself in your career. You began by playing a college heartthrob in Aniyathipravu and graduated to darker roles like the one of a chauvinistic husband in How Old Are You?. How do you mix things up?
I truly believe that variety is the spice of life. In [the] initial days of my career, I played the quintessential chocolate boy [sweet, guy-next-door] and such love stories were coming my way constantly. At one point, I got bored of seeing myself in those roles and I felt I needed a change. The characters I played, back then, did not have any drastic changes either. Consider this: If I am so bored with what I was doing, then imagine the state of the audience.
I took a break and tried to reinvent myself. I began doing character roles and making cameos in interesting films. I was open to playing side [supporting] roles, but I truly found my groove when I played a part in the comedy ‘Gulumaal’. Before that film, any attempt at humour didn’t have the desired effect among viewers. People cried, instead of laughing at my jokes. With ‘Gulumaal’, that changed and people actually began to see my witty side on the big screen. I considered it a positive development in my career.
I experimented with grey roles in films like ‘Seniors’ and ‘Traffic’. Apart from that, films such as ‘Take Off’ and ‘Ramante Edenthottam’ — in which I played romantic roles with a mature touch — happened. People began accepting me in those roles… I tried to reinvent myself at every given turn and the process still continues. I am trying to stick to the basics and experiment even now.
“You cannot please everyone. Although we try, it’s impossible to please all. More than 80 per cent are liking the film. If the audience is glued to the screen and they are moved, and take the film home back with them, then it’s a win situation for me.” — Boban on ‘Allu Ramendran’ receiving mixed reviews in India.
Don’t miss it!
‘Allu Ramendran’ is out in the UAE now.