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After King of Kotha’s OTT release, people might appreciate its nuances better: Abhilash Joshiy

King of Kotha director Abhilash Joshiy opens up about the feedback of Dulquer Salmaan-starrer and more

After King of Kotha’s OTT release, people might appreciate its nuances better: Abhilash Joshiy
Dulquer Salmaan and Abhilash Joshiy on the sets of King of Kotha

Last Updated: 06.24 PM, Sep 28, 2023


Malayalam star Dulquer Salmaan’s latest release King of Kotha, which will be available to streaming Disney+ Hotstar from September 29, was among the most-anticipated Malayalam movies this year. While the film, which was mounted on a big scale and featured an ensemble star cast, went on to collect over Rs 40 crore at the box office worldwide, it had its fair share of detractors and opened to mixed reviews.

The movie’s director Abhilash Joshiy, in an exclusive interview with OTTplay, ahead of its OTT release tells us about the feedback the film has received from the Malayalam audience as well as his father and filmmaker Joshiy and why he feels big films need bigger support from the viewers.


In a recent interview, you had said that your father Joshiy appreciated King of Kotha . How much did his feedback mean to you?

He is not someone who says things just for the sake of it, even if I am his son. Even my editor, who had worked with him before, would say the same thing, ‘If he didn’t like it, he would tell you point blank that the film is not working’. Because of that, it meant a lot to me.

He must have actually liked the film because he saw it before music was done. Even after the first schedule, I made him watch what we had shot and edited. He was happy with that too. He said, ‘For a first film, it’s a good effort’. Even after watching the whole film, he said that I have done well for my debut venture and that he enjoyed it.

The film was released amid massive hype, but it had mixed responses. Previously too, big films that came with huge buzz and didn’t meet the expectations like Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham , Odiyan and Mamangam were also rip to shreds by a section of the audience. Do you feel that they could have taken that into account that it is your debut film after all?

See, you can’t criticise the audience for feeling underwhelmed. It’s their hard-earned money; people who are making Rs 2000, are spending Rs 150 for a movie ticket. So, it’s our responsibility to meet their expectations. But once you don’t like a movie, bad-mouthing it and asking other people to not watch it, that I feel is unnecessary.

We are more welcoming and accepting of other-language films, I have felt this even before King of Kotha. But when it’s a Malayalam film, people want logic and all the other aspects to be right. I have always felt that our audience watches Malayalam and Tamil films in two different wavelengths, and leaves their brains behind for the latter.

Nimish Ravi, Abhilash Joshiy and Dulquer Salmaan
Nimish Ravi, Abhilash Joshiy and Dulquer Salmaan

Does it make it challenging for debutant filmmakers to start off with projects mounted on such a huge scale and budget?

It is. Only if we are welcoming, new filmmakers will come with big projects. When you do a big project, people expect more and when it doesn’t live up to those expectations, then they will tear the film apart. When that happens, new directors will think twice about doing a big film. And big films are always better for the industry.

In my case, I took a risk with such a project as my debut feature. But when I think about doing it again, I hesitate. ‘Should I do a big film? Can’t I just do a simple, easy film set in Kochi?’ – those are some of my thoughts. For big films to happen and for our industry to grow, I think there should be some support from our audience too.

Do you feel that some of the nuances in the film was lost or not discerned because of the preconceived notions that the audience had gone in with while watching the movie in theatres?

Maybe, we can’t judge the tastes of every audience member. There are certain layers that we had deliberately added. For instance, in the football sequences, when Kannan refuses to pass the ball to Dulquer’s character, it shows his selfish character trait. Similarly, a lot of those things I don’t think came across to a lot of the audience. Maybe in the second or third watch in OTT, they will notice those intricacies.

I also feel based on our marketing, it might have come across as a different film – a ‘mass’ film. You can’t promise biriyani and then serve palada payasam. Both are equally good, but people are going in expecting biriyani.

Dulquer Salmaan in King Of Kotha
Dulquer Salmaan in King Of Kotha

King of Kotha was shot for over 100 days. Did it also have a lot of extra footage, which then became challenging to edit and pack it as a coherent film where every character’s arc was addressed?

No, the film didn’t have too much extra footage. About 80-90% of what we shot was there on screen. It was also a decision from the production side with Dulquer saying that we have made the film on such a big scale and so, let’s give the audience what we have shot instead of editing it to 2 hours and 30 minutes. The football scene was initially crisper but he said let’s go with the current version, because it’s never been shot like this in Malayalam cinema before.

There have been mixed opinions about the duration of the film. Maybe people would have liked it better if it was shorter, but it was purely a conscious decision from our side. Maybe after the film’s OTT release, people would be able to enjoy it more.

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