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Exclusive! Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Kaaliyan has been conceived as an epic thriller, says its director S Mahesh

The big-budget period film, set in the 1600s, will have Prithviraj playing a warrior and confidante of Iravikutti Pillai

  • Sanjith Sidhardhan

Last Updated: 09.54 AM, May 18, 2022

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Exclusive! Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Kaaliyan has been conceived as an epic thriller, says its director S Mahesh
Prithviraj Sukumaran in a promo still from Kaaliyan

Ever since the release of SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Prashanth Neel’s KGF: Chapter 2, there has been a lot of talk of whether Malayalam cinema would one day be able to churn out an epic film that would make the same impact as the two films in the box office. In an exclusive interview with OTTplay last month, Prithiviraj Sukumaran said, “I can guarantee you we will.”

Two Malayalam projects, starring the actor, that does have the potential to make that happen are Kaaliyan and Karachi ’81. The former will be the first to go on floors this year.

In an exclusive interview with us, Kaaliyan’s director S Mahesh shares an update about the film, which was first announced four years ago. “The project has to be mounted on a grand scale and that’s why there was a temporary halt during the pandemic. But we resumed pre-production work 2-3 months ago and the plan now is to begin shooting by October or November,” he says.

The film has Prithviraj playing a warrior and confidante of Iravikutti Pillai, the commander in chief of the Venad kingdom. “Kaaliyan has been conceived as an epic thriller. It’s probably the first film based on Southern folktales of Kerala. Iravikutti Pillai’s heroics have been hailed in Southern ballads and this is one of the stories set against the backdrop of the Venad kingdom in the 17th century,” Mahesh explains.

On how close to reality the film is, Mahesh says, “It’s historic fiction. Also, because it’s a big project, we have thought of different cinematic possibilities.”

Back in 2018 when the film, produced by Rajeev Nair was announced, Baahubali actor Sathyaraj was also part of its cast. Ask Mahesh if the casting has undergone changes and he says, “There will be changes in the casting, which is important to this film. There are a lot of pivotal characters in Kaaliyan and that’s why we are holding auditions and meeting artistes. Also, in the past three years, there has also been a change in the visual language of cinema; so, we are currently working on those updates too.”

Prithviraj, who is currently shooting for Aadujeevitham, is expected to join the sets of Kaapa in July this year and then complete Vilayath Buddha and Salaar, before he starts work on Kaaliyan, Mahesh concludes.

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