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Chaaver star Kunchacko Boban: After my son was born, there was a sea change in the kind of films and roles I wanted to do

Malayalam star Kunchacko Boban talks about Chaaver, his acting process and the profound change after his son came into his life

Chaaver star Kunchacko Boban: After my son was born, there was a sea change in the kind of films and roles I wanted to do
Kunchacko Boban in a still from Chaaver

Last Updated: 05.39 PM, Oct 04, 2023


It’s no longer a surprise to see Kunchacko Boban playing a fiery and intense character with the same ease as his romantic roles. In the past few years, the Malayalam star has been on peak form, acing his characters while also expanding his fanbase – not just in Kerala but outside the State too. After movies like Nayattu, Pada, Ariyippu, Nna Thaan Case Kodu, Padmini and 2018, the actor is looking to push the envelope once again in Tinu Pappachan’s political drama-thriller Chaaver , which will hit theatres on October 5.

In a candid interview with OTTplay, Kunchacko tells us about the film, how his acting process has evolved over the years and the changes in his personal and professional lives after his son Izahaak was born in 2019. Excerpts...


What can we expect from Chaaver, which once again has you in an intense avatar?

Expect a deep-rooted, grounded and a reality-based film, packed in an exciting and entertaining manner that can be watched in theatres. We all know what Tinu, as a technician, has done in his previous movies. The audience are also aware of what Joy (Mathew) ettan is capable of as a writer, based on his two films – Shutter and Uncle. Chaaver is based on real incidents – the experiences that he has gone through and the people that he has seen. Even though it could be slotted as a political thriller , it has an underlying layer of human emotions, attachments and friendships – that are conceived in a serious yet thrilling pattern.

After the teasers and trailer, people could have felt that the film has violence but this is not a movie that glorifies violence in any way. I believe if the audience will understand the true meaning of what the film is trying to convey beneath its political layer, we have succeeded.

Kunchacko Boban in a still from Chaaver
Kunchacko Boban in a still from Chaaver

Initially, when you did roles like Nayattu or Pada, there was an element of surprise – especially because these aren’t characters that were usually associated with you. But now that you have been taking up more of such roles, has it also become challenging for you to set them apart?

It is very demanding – both physically and emotionally. Even when I was doing Ariyippu, after certain days, I used to be totally drained. I used to unwind by reading humorous scripts or going out. But I enjoy all of this. I have been trying to get these intense characters in any way possible at one point in my career, be it calling filmmakers or pleading my case. There was a time when people thought I couldn’t even play myself and so, I wasn’t ready to take up such strong characters. Now, I am in a zone where I can experiment with different kinds of characters and storylines that are both exciting and demanding.

Fortunately, the creators are coming up with those kinds of stories. We have some amazing talents in Kerala and we are showcasing the films with finesse and grandeur. Consequently, we are getting the accolades and appreciation which were missing a few years ago. 2018 is the best example of that. 

Kunchacko Boban and Divya Prabha in a still from Ariyippu
Kunchacko Boban and Divya Prabha in a still from Ariyippu

As an actor, do you have a process now in terms of how you approach your characters or has that method changed in the recent past?

I depend on so many factors. I truly believe that the movie as well as the character I play is a collective effort. A writer conceives a role a particular way, the director adds his perspective and an actor brings his insights to make the character alive. You imbibe various elements from the situation you have been or have read or seen.

For Chaaver, the final appearance of my character Ashokan is not what I initially had in mind. Tinu was totally convinced of how his Ashokan must look like, and I totally submitted to that vision. I knew I had to put on weight, use lenses and have that aggressive look. So, the make-up department helped create that get-up. Also, on the sets, the ambience, the actors I work with, the dialogues I say and things I do, all of it adds to the character. It’s not what I am in real life, it’s totally the character I am playing. That’s my process.

Kunchacko Boban in a still from Chaaver
Kunchacko Boban in a still from Chaaver

There’s method as well as instinctive acting, which is what I subscribe to. If I was a method actor, I would have killed a few people, just for the sake of the role (laughs). If you are an emotional person and you are able to channel into the experience that you have gained over the years, you are able to compartmentalise and lock the journey of the character.

Your 2018 co-actor Vineeth Sreenivasan had earlier said that after having children, he didn’t want to do dark-thrillers like Thira because it meant going to a dark space. You have done a lot of these dark and intense roles lately, and because you said that these leave you emotionally exhausted, how does it affect your interactions with your family during these films?

When I am with my family is when I unwind. After an exhausting day, the time I spend with them is when I can be who I really am. After my son came into my life, there was a drastic change in my outlook, in terms of the kind of films and roles that I wanted to do. Not having a child for 14 years resulted in an unapparent pressure on my family life. Now, I am just relaxed and trying all sort of things – I am experimenting with my looks, characters and movies, and I am just enjoying the ride.

Even for Malayalam cinema, after the OTT boom, we have a new lease of life to go out full on. I am lucky to be in this era, with these talents around me.

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