Priyadarshan recently teamed up with Mithunam actress Urvashi for Appatha, which is streaming on Jio Cinema
Even 30 years on, director Priyadarshan’s Mithunam, which had Mohanlal and Urvashi in the lead, is still being discussed for a variety of reasons. While many have lauded how the film has showcased the challenges of entrepreneurial ventures in Kerala and also the struggles of balancing business and family life, others have also criticised the film for showing only the male protagonist’s challenges and dismissing the troubles of its heroine, essayed by Urvashi.
That said, over the years, the film has arguably become popular with all kinds of audiences. The director recently recalled the film’s box office fate, when it hit theatres in 1993. “Today, it’s everyone’s favourite film. But when it was released, it was a big flop,” he tells OTTplay, in an exclusive chat.
Mithunam was also the only movie he had worked with Urvashi, till the Tamil film Appatha, which released on Jio Cinema on July 29. On working together after almost three decades, the filmmaker says, “It felt like we had done almost 100 films together. For me, working with her is like collaborating with Mohanlal. That’s the kind of camaraderie we share. I still call her by her nickname Podi.”
The movie revolves around an elderly woman, who comes to the city to be with her son and family. Instead, she is asked to take care of their dog, while the latter leaves for a vacation. How the woman, who is scared of dogs, forge a bond with the canine and also bring in a change in the lives of the other residents in the apartment complex form the plot of the film.
“The message in the film is how when you grow old and lonely, unconditional love from animals is sometimes more valuable than the one you get from humans,” he says. A Belgian Malinois named Ten played the role of Zeus the dog in the film and the director says he had a great time shooting with it.
“It was a well-trained dog that belonged to the same breed that was used to track down Osama Bin Laden. They are very ferocious but this dog was amazingly friendly. After some time, I forgot that I was working with another dog. I felt I was working with another actor,” he says.