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Exclusive! Asif Ali: The initial plan was for Nivin Pauly to play my character too in Mahaveeryar

Asif essays the role of a 17th century king’s prime minister while Nivin plays an ascetic in Abrid Shine’s directorial

Exclusive! Asif Ali: The initial plan was for Nivin Pauly to play my character too in Mahaveeryar
Nivin Pauly and Asif Ali
  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 04.48 AM, Jul 22, 2022

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A key highlight of director Abrid Shine’s fantasy courtroom drama is that it’s a dual-hero project featuring two of Malayalam’s leading stars – Nivin Pauly and Asif Ali. Since its release on Thursday, both actors have been lauded for their performance in the film as an ascetic and a prime minister from the 17 century.

In an exclusive interview with OTTplay, Asif tells us if there was ever a thought of him getting to play the ascetic instead of the prime minister. “I can’t even think about playing Nivin’s role,” Asif tells us. “When I read the script, it was clear that both the characters are challenging to play; intimidating even. Nivin essays the role of a sanyasi and so his dialogues were all like that. My character’s weren’t any easier.”

Did he worry about screen space or time? “There’s no sense in saying that both characters have equal importance, because in the particular script, both bring in different value propositions to the story. Both of them have their space in the story. Shine had told me that the initial plan was to get Nivin to play both characters as they are from two different timelines. But that didn’t work out.”

Asif Ali and Nivin Pauly in stills from Mahaveeryar
Asif Ali and Nivin Pauly in stills from Mahaveeryar

Further on how their characters are placed, Asif says, “The movie has a time-travel element because both our stories happen in two different timelines, but the trial for the crime from the past is held at a court in the present era.”

Meanwhile, on roping in Asif for the film, Nivin had earlier told us that he thought it was important that another actor play the role of the minister as it brings in a totally different perspective and dynamic to the story. Mahaveeryar, which is also produced by Nivin, also has Lal, Siddique, Shanvi Srivastav and Lalu Alex as part of the cast.

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