Unni Mukundan shares his thoughts!
It’s been about five years since he debuted in movies, and so far, Unni Mukundan has played hero in about nine films.
Candid as always, the actor says he sees it as his way of fighting off labels, and that numbers are not his priority. Unni, who most recently wrapped up his latest film Style with Binu S, speaks to Trivandrum Times about his career trajectory, wedding plans and more:
Your performance in Hari Kumar’s film Kaattum Mazhayum, which was screened recently at IFFK, was much discussed. I started working in that project about two years ago but it’s only recently at IFFK that it got screened. In the film, I play a simpleton youngster named Harinarayanan Namboothiri, who is ridden by heavy debts and family responsibilities. It deals with many serious themes like organ donation and the illogical influence of religion, and is an intense movie.
I always wanted to strike a balance between mass and class films as far as possible in my career, and also loved the story. I had piled on weight too to give the right look to my character, and it feels great that though delayed, it finally got noticed.
What’s your character in Style like? After Mallu Singh, I guess Binu’s Style is one of the most colourful films I did. Before doing his debut film Itihaasa, Binu had approached me for a project but we couldn’t proceed with it. So I’m happy to have worked with him in Style. My character is a 22-year-old ‘car stylist’ named Tom, who is a fun person and also has an upmarket garage as his work zone. He also has a little brother named Jerry, 15 years younger. Master Ilhaan, who played Dulquer’s childhood in Vikramadityan, acts as my brother and our naughty equation in the movie is quite entertaining. The film is Tom’s life in a nutshell and also has a car as one of the main characters. It feels great that characters of younger guys come my way now as opposed to how it often was, in the beginning of my career. I was a 20-year-old in my previous movie KL10 Pathu and a 22-year-old in this film, and it feels great to act wearing tees and youngish costumes!
Do you think you have been getting enough of good opportunities? I don’t know. But once you do well in a particular kind of role, the industry’s tendency is to bring you similar characters. For instance, after Mallu Singh, I got many offers to take up action roles. But if you pick them, you get categorised, which is something I don’t want to happen.
I have not followed a pattern as an actor and never had more than probably three releases a year. There can be pitfalls too for such decisions. In 2013, for instance, the three films I did – Kaattum Mazhayum, Orissa and Samrajyam – were quite different from each other, but they didn’t work for various reasons. All that aside, my priority remains doing versatile roles and not numbers, however others perceive it. I am also not someone who can ask people to include me in their projects. I just try to pick and do the best from the lot that comes my way.
Any updates on the wedding front? No (laughs). I am 28, but I am not mentally ready to marry yet, though friends and family say this is the right age. Their point is that only if you start searching at 28 will you find someone by 30! But thankfully, nobody forces me. I still feel my mental age is 14 and I might come across as a childish personality. Unless I am convinced it’s time, I shouldn’t jump into it and screw another person’s life with poor judgment. But being someone who loves kids, I feel I have fatherly traits in me… but a husband, not sure yet!
Not even a ‘my ideal partner’ checklist? People say opposites attract but if you ask me, I am not sure. If I can find a girl who is my female version, I would say I can consider marriage! My family is orthodox and I was surprised when they allowed me to get into films, saying it’s an art. Even I am like them. I like the various rituals of our culture, visiting temples, et al and I also take my life very seriously. I am a mix of orthodox and modern views at the same time. Also, I don’t think I can marry someone who just likes actor Unni, as that guy is fake!
Upcoming projects? I have a project coming up with director Sajan and another with Shanil Mohammed. While I play a simpleton in Sajan’s film I have a more upmarket personality in the latter film.