Thirty-five years ago, when Kunchako Boban faced the camera as a five year old, he had no inkling of what he was doing. He played a child’s role in Malayalam film ‘Dhanya’ directed by Fazil and produced by his father, Boban Kunchako.
Much water has flowed under the bridge since then.
After making an impressive debut with ‘Aniyathipraavu’, he soon found his place as a “chocolate boy” hero. Pushing behind this romantic image, Boban of late has been experimenting with different characters revealing versatility and maturity.
With his latest film, ‘Kochauvva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho’ (KPAC), Boban takes the next step as a producer and relaunches Udhaya Studios. Established in 1947 by Boban’s grandfather Kunchako Boban, it was noted for its commercially successful films but closed down in 2004.
“I am blessed considering that while doing my first film, I was not keen on pursuing acting as a career. But things happened for a better purpose. That purpose has been served with the relaunch of Udaya Studios,” he said in an exclusive chat with tabloid!. “KPAC is a good starting point for Udaya’s second innings. Relaunching Udaya with a good film was my priority. A good beginning has been made and more good things should happen, God willing. The journey continues and I am eager to experience the different horizons of film- making and the industry as a whole.”
You’ve made 75 films in nineteen years in the industry. How does it feel?
A wow moment! Actually it’s 75 films and 35 years to be exact, because my first film was ‘Dhanya’ in 1981 as a kid, though I don’t have memories of that.
But from ‘Aniyathipraavu’ onwards, the journey has been an enterprising one. I remain the same old chakochan my family and friends know. Luckily I have been able to play different characters that I did not think I could carry off. People have liked them.
KPAC is a feather in that crown. Its acceptance and positive response from audience and critics has given me an added energy to work on good films as an actor and also as a producer.
What was producing like?
It was a dream come true for reviving Udaya banner with a good film. Commercial aspects come second though — sustainability is important for me to continue.
I was not nervous about wearing the producer’s hat. Two to three years ago, the scenario was convenient for producing a film. You did not need much investment. By combining big names and with satellite rights one could make a table profit before a film hits theatres. But I did not want to produce a film just for the heck of it. Nor did I look at making a profit. I wanted a film that will inspire society. KPAC served that both commercially and with an inspirational message for society.
How was it working with director Siddharth Siva?
When we met for a narration, I thought it will be a serious subject, but after listening to the script, I was drawn to it by its genuine story, good humour, emotional situations and its positive aspect, even though I was not the protagonist. In KPAC, a little boy is the hero. Siddu came to discuss my role as an actor, but I loved the story and told him to hold onto it before considering a producer. It was shot in 51 days in six locations and there was no compromise on anything. With KPAC, Siddu proved wrong people who had bracketed him into [being] a serious filmmaker. We intend doing more films together.
Tell me about Kochavva, your character.
Kochaava is based on a real person from a village. He is Siddharth’s friend’s father — a man who lives for others and is very giving. But in the film, we have underplayed Kochavva. In today’s world when such people are rare, many would wonder if such things really happened. Playing Kochavva was not difficult. I found him a genuine and kind-hearted person. I am a lot like him. When I overdid things, Siddu would correct me and ask me to underplay it. There are many funny situations in the film, the last scene especially, for which we got the loudest claps in theatres.
What about child actor Rudraksh?
Master Rudraksh plays Ayyappa Das, the protagonist, and the film opens through his eyes and voice. He is actor Sudeesh’s son. I must mention that Rudraksh’s dubbing was outstanding. The boy was made to work like hell. He learnt swimming and did risky sequences in the waterfalls. No one else could have played Ayyappa.
Is it true that the KPAC profits will go to charity?
Yes, part of the profit will be given for charity purposes, I have been into such work having supported old age homes, a heart care foundation and also the visually challenged. I hope to build a home for homeless if God wills.
Udaya will be producing a mass [market] film next since Udaya was known for making commercially viable films. I am waiting for a good story and I am in talks with directors Lal Jose and Anwar Rasheed. On the acting front, I am working on a film directed by Mahesh Nair. It is an emotional thriller and I play a male nurse for the first time. It’s a different film and a different experience. Mahesh knew exactly what he wanted and gave us full freedom. He is a promising director in the Malayalam industry.