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Maharani director G Marthandan on how Roshan Mathew surprised him with his comic timing

Maharani director G Marthandan explains why he feels big budgets doesn’t determine the success of the movie and how Roshan Mathew is sure to surprise the audience

Maharani director G Marthandan on how Roshan Mathew surprised him with his comic timing
G Marthandan and Roshan Mathew

Last Updated: 04.06 PM, Nov 23, 2023


Director G Marthandan, who had previously helmed Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Paavada and Mammootty’s Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus, says he deliberately waited for four years to make and release Roshan Mathew and Shine Tom Chacko-starrer Maharani. The reason is that he wanted to ensure that his film was released in theatres and also helped bring the audience back to cinema halls.

“Maharani is a total ‘paisa vasool’ movie that would appeal both to the youth as well as the family audience,” says G Marthandan in an exclusive interview with OTTplay. “I would call any film that brings people to theatres a ‘mass’ movie and in that regard, Maharani is a ‘mass’ movie. More than having big stars, this film has great young actors like Shine and Roshan.”


G Marthandan: The screenplay of the movie is its ‘maharani’

The filmmaker tells us that since the pandemic, he has had offers to do other movies and “could have done a film much earlier”. But he decided to wait it out to make a movie that would appeal to a larger audience. “In that sense, the screenplay of this movie is the ‘maharani’,” says the filmmaker.

The trailer for the film hinted that it revolves around quarrels between two families over an inter-caste relationship between its protagonists. Marthandan, however, says that this isn't the case. “We haven’t taken that caste-based route. The movie will have a lot of relatable characters that we see in our daily lives and have a hilarious take on the problems they face,” he explains.

‘Let Roshan Mathew unleash his comic side in Maharani’

Maharani has Roshan star in a full-length comedy entertainer for the first time in his career, and with surprising results, from what Marthandan says is anything to go by.

“I let Roshan unleash his comic side in the film. It’s just like how Prithviraj, who was known for his serious roles, had a rural character with all the quirks in Paavada. Similarly, the audience would see a totally different side of Roshan. His performance is sure to surprise everyone; I am still stunned by his acting and comedic timing after seeing the final cut,” says the filmmaker.

Roshan and Shine play Vijeesh and Ajeesh, the sons of Johny Antony’s character in the film. “They are characters we have seen before, but how both Shine and Roshan have performed is what sets them apart,” the director adds.

A still from Maharani
A still from Maharani

‘I am fully aware that my films don’t have international standards’

At a time when Malayalam movies have been lauded across the nation and also globally, ask Marthandan if there’s still an audience for the kind of films – mostly family entertainers – that he does, and he says, “I can only do those kinds of movies. I don’t know how to do anything else. I try to take subjects that are relatable to the audience and then try to entertain them with that. I am fully aware that my movies aren’t on par with international films; they are made for the audience in Kerala.”

A still from Maharani
A still from Maharani

Point out that the audience’s sensibilities have changed rapidly over the past few years and the filmmaker agrees. “Our viewers have always been familiar with world cinema, but the pandemic gave them a chance to delve deep into it. And now, they have started to criticise films and know which movies stand out. Even the family audience in Kerala is aware of all this now,” he says.

Doesn’t that warrant a change in the kind of subjects that the filmmakers choose? “Yes, it does,” Marthandan says. “I have tried to bring that change in Maharani. It's not a film where you have two scenes followed by a song and then a fight sequence. Its content is strong and the performances are even better. It’s a wild ride, which is way different from my four previous movies.”

A still from Maharani
A still from Maharani

‘Budgets don’t matter in cinema; only content does’

Having worked with superstars such as Mammootty and Prithviraj in his previous movies, albeit with limited budgets, how much does the scale of a film matter when it comes to increasing the reach of the movie?

“I don’t think big budgets matter in cinema; only content does,” he says. “There are instances where movies made with Rs 1 crore have trumped a Rs 100 crore movie at the box office. Take the example of Kakka Muttai or Sairat, which went on to become massive hits. So, you have to make a movie within the budget it requires. Maharani is not a movie that is made on a small budget; it had a lot of popular actors and was made taking enough time.”

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