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Exclusive! Vineeth Sreenivasan: Mukundan Unni Associates has me playing a character with no virtues

Vineeth Sreenivasan talks to us about his upcoming movie Mukundan Unni Associates and why it was an entirely different experience

Exclusive! Vineeth Sreenivasan: Mukundan Unni Associates has me playing a character with no virtues
Vineeth Sreenivasan in a still from Mukundan Unni Associates
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 01.08 AM, Nov 09, 2022

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Actor-director Vineeth Sreenivasan isn’t the first face to come to the audience’s minds when you think of a narcissist who would bend all rules to succeed in life. But that’s also what hooked him to the role in director Abhinav Sunder Nayak’s movie Mukundan Unni Associates, in which he plays the titular character of a lawyer.

Ahead of the movie’s theatrical release on November 11, Vineeth talks to OTTPlay in an exclusive interview, revealing what attracted him to the role, why it was a different experience for him and how its visuals have a major role to play in its chosen mode of storytelling.

How different is Mukundan Unni Associates from the previous films you have done?

It’s different because I play a character who has no virtues at all. Mukundan Unni is a narcissistic man, who only thinks about himself. As far as he is concerned, he has a destination in mind and does everything necessary to reach there; he doesn’t think about how it will impact other people, he only cares about himself.

Abhinav Sunder Nayak and Vineeth Sreenivasan
Abhinav Sunder Nayak and Vineeth Sreenivasan

That means it must have been hard to relate when Abhinav told you about this character?

I thought it was interesting. He first told me about the story almost four years ago. Abhi had worked with me as an AD, and so he would bounce off the script ideas with me. At that time, I didn’t think I would be part of the film. In fact, he wanted to cast another actor that time and pitched it to 2-3 other artistes. But it didn’t work due to unavailability of dates and other reasons. So, it was at that point, he asked me if I would do the role.

Mukundan Unni also seems to be a very refined character, complete with the poker-face that fits the dark comedy genre. Did you have any references while portraying him?

Abhi wanted the body language of the character to be minimal. He wanted the communication to mostly be through the eyes and the modulation. For instance, when we talk naturally, there are specific movements in terms of our body language as well as how we shake our head. Mukundan Unni is highly focused and self-centred, so he doesn’t express anything much. So, his feelings are always contained within him. Because of that, I had to control my movements. There were scenes in which Abhi told me not to blink and I had to do the entire shot like that. So, it was a very interesting process while acting in this film.

Also, because my character is a lawyer, you have to quote a lot of IPC sections. Hence, you can’t improvise too much. Whatever was there in the script, I had to learn that by rote and reproduce during the long takes. That way, it was challenging too.

Suraj Venjaramoodu is your co-star in the film but he too had to play a restrained character. How was it working with him?

He also enjoyed doing this film. There were scenes where I had to control myself from bursting out laughing. He would tell me that it’s been a while since he got to do such a role. Surajettan also would learn his dialogues and then come to the set. But when Abhi tells him it has to be done differently, I could see the surprise in his eyes. He loved that.

A still from Mukundan Unni Associates
A still from Mukundan Unni Associates

Recently, you had put up a social media post lauding Rorschach’s making. Being a director, how much does the visual treatment of Mukundan Unni Associates help in making it a unique theatrical experience?

Even before Abhi started the shoot, he said that there won't be too many wide shots in the movie; as there will be few shots that establish the space in the film. It will travel with the character and he will be the focus. There are also changes in the visuals based on how the story evolves. I cannot elaborate much on that because I want people to watch that in theatres. There were times when I have asked him don’t we need some more space establishment shots and he would say, ‘No, it’s not necessary for the audience’s focus to leave the character’. So, that’s the method Abhi has chosen for the film.

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