Exclusive! Abhilash Pillai: Never thought I’d work in Vysakh and M Padmakumar films at the same time
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Exclusive! Abhilash Pillai: Never thought I’d work in Vysakh and M Padmakumar's films at the same time

Pathaam Valavu and Night Drive, both of which are currently being shot, is scripted by Abhilash, who also has Amala Paul’s Tamil-Telugu bilingual Cadaver set for release

Sanjith Sidhardhan
Sep 30, 2021
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Vysakh, Abhilash Pillai and M Padmakumar

For debutant scriptwriters, working with a superhit director is the dream and when the movie has leading actors as part of the cast, that’s the icing on the cake. Abhilash Pillai, however, has done one better. The scriptwriter, who has already completed Amala Paul’s Tamil-Telugu bilingual Cadaver, is currently working with two Malayalam directors – Vysakh and M Padmakumar.

The scriptwriter, who is shuttling between the sets of Pathaam Valavu in Thodupuzha and that of Night Drive in Kochi, is visibly chuffed at what he’s managed to pull off.

Talking about his Mollywood debut, Abhilash tells OTTplay, “Cadaver itself was planned in Malayalam first, but when we got a big opportunity from Kollywood, we decided to do it in Tamil. Pappettan’s (M Padmakumar) Pathaan Valavu was supposed to go on floors before the pandemic and I had even completed its screenplay while we were shooting Cadaver. But we could only begin the shoot this year, once the conditions were favourable.”

Abhilash Pillai

His project that was announced was Vyaskh’s Night Drive, which has Indrajith Sukumaran, Roshan Mathew and Anna Ben as the leads. “I had bounced off the thread of Night Drive to Vysakh chettan two years ago and he said we should complete the script soon and begin shooting,” he says.

While all three of his movies are thrillers, the scribe says that each of them is different. “Cadaver is an investigative thriller based on a real-life incident. Pathaam Valavu, however, is an emotional-thriller revolving around a family. Night Drive, meanwhile, is a stylish thriller, which is more of a road movie,” he explains.

The cast of these movies too feature the top actors in the industry today. On getting Suraj Venjaramoodu and Indrajith for Pathaam Valavu, he says, “When I was writing Pathaam Valavu, Suraj ettan’s was the first face I thought of to play that character. Pappettan was the one who suggested we get Indraettan to play the cop in the film. The characters’ emotions have to be portrayed perfectly as they share a deep bond, and that’s why I believe Indraettan and Surajettan are the best choice for the respective roles.”

He also says that it’s a casting coup to “get today’s sensations – Roshan and Anna – along with Indraettan in his most stylish avatar” in Night Drive.

While the pandemic meant that filmmakers had to wait longer for their films to release, ask Abhilash, how it impacted him, considering that his two Malayalam movies didn’t go on floors due to the uncertainty, and he says, “Initially, I also thought that the pandemic would be over in no time and life will get back to normal. But when it prolonged, I started getting worried and the people who gave me the courage were my family and those from the industry including Pappettan, Vysakh ettan, Arun Gopy chettan and production controller Noble Jacob. They said that the next phase would belong to writers and directors, and so I didn’t waste the time during lockdowns. I got to develop good projects and discuss them with talented artistes. It gave me time to line up my next films.”

He is currently enjoying the hectic stint of travelling to both sets. “The biggest blessing for me as a debutant is that I have two of my films happening at the same time. After watching Pappettan’s Joseph and Vysakh chettan’s Pulimurugan, I had wished to work with at least one of them some time in my life. But to do projects with both of them at the same time feels great,” says the scriptwriter, adding that he has also scripted an upcoming movie in Malayalam and another film in Tamil that will be announced soon.

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