Director B Unnikrishnan’s vigilante action thriller film Christopher, starring Mammootty, Amala Paul, Vinay Rai, Sneha, Aishwarya Lekshmi, and Siddique among others, hit the screens earlier this month, at a time when Malayalam cinema is making waves due to the novelty of the themes being explored and the style of making.
Unnikrishnan has directed as many as 12 films during his 23-year career. He began by writing the screenplay for T K Rajeev Kumar’s Jalamarmaram (1999), for which he received the Kerala State Film Award for Best Screenplay. Previously, the writer-turned-filmmaker worked as a lecturer.
In an exclusive interview director B Unnikrishnan discusses his recent film Christopher starring Mammootty why his Mohanlal-starrer Aaraattu did not work out the way he intended,
How is Christopher doing? What are the responses like?
I am happy with the responses we have been receiving. People in general are appreciating the making and style of the film. For a filmmaker, such responses are highly rewarding.
One of the criticisms against the film is that it glorifies extrajudicial killings…
As I previously stated, my political views do not align with that of Christopher. Villain was a film rooted in my political stands. Unfortunately, nobody discussed the movie’s political undertones. As a person who makes mass-appeal movies, a story’s main character, his internal life, or his actions might also draw me in. Christopher also fits this description. There were many things that drew me to the guy. But, I don’t believe his actions are right or deserving of commendation.
In contrast to your previous works, which placed the utmost importance on their stories, Christopher is a theme-driven movie. While Christopher’s theme of violence against women and how many culprits get away due to a “weak system” is extremely sensitive, the story wasn’t written by you. What factors led you to take on the project, then?
If you remember, I have also done a film called Villain (2017) starring Mohanlal. The thematic elements and socio-political stances of Villain are diametrically opposite to Christopher’s. In Villain, Mohanlal’s cop Mathew Manjooran resists the push to become a vigilante. Even when he apprehends the person responsible for the deaths of his wife and child, he chooses not to take law into his own hands. “Revenge is a disease that eats away the person carrying it within,” says Mathew Manjooran. Despite the huge successes of vigilante stories like S Shankar’s Indian, Hari’s Singam series etc, Villain’s approach was completely different. So, when Udaykrishna came up with a concept that was directly opposite to that of Villain, I felt compelled to experiment with it so that my oeuvre would include both types of movies.