Interview I Why Tovino Thomas did not want to do Malayalam blockbuster film 2018

Interview I Why Tovino Thomas did not want to do Malayalam blockbuster film 2018

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Tovino Thomas is one of the fastest-rising stars in Malayalam cinema. His 2021 superhero movie, ‘Minnal Murali’ earned international recognition and the latest release, the survival thriller ‘2018’ has become the biggest hit of Malayalam cinema, breaching ₹150 crore gross at the box office.

Did you know that the actor was not keen to be in ‘2018’ in the first place? In an interview with The Federal, Tovino says, “To be honest, I wasn’t keen on accepting Jude Anthony Joseph’s ‘2018’ because a section of people would say I’m trying to earn mileage out of the natural calamity that shook Kerala. However, Jude convinced me and in a way emotionally blackmailed me, however, in a good way, (laughs) and eventually, the film commenced.”

He also points out, “Born and brought up in Irinjalakkuda, it doesn’t matter whether I’m an actor or not, I would have helped our people to the best of my capacity just like thousands of youngsters who lent their helping hands during the calamity.”

“During the floods, I felt really good helping my people but when a section started tagging me as ‘flood star’, it hurt me deeply,” adds the actor.

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What makes us human

The young star also feels people instinctively and compassionately helped each other when people were struggling with the Kerala floods. “But, once things got back to normal, we have become abnormal by forgetting the fact that helping each other is what makes us humans,” he stresses.

On the subject of the film’s budget, Tovino says, “I think we have spent what is required for the film but if you compare with other film industries in India, the investment is low. On the brighter side, we are satisfied with the output and extremely happy our producers have made huge profits. Though the CGI team did a brilliant job, our director ensured the scenes of the rains and floods were as real as possible with the available resources. He put all of us in real water and as a team, we all believed in his vision.”

Tovino Thomas, 2018Since the film has turned out to be a massive box-office success, was there any discussion that they could’ve invested more in the film?

Tovino says, “Well, I think what we spent is enough for our film. Secondly, from the creative perspective, I feel audiences emotionally connected with what they see on the screen and that is what matters. The other film that I’m currently in talks with Jude Anthony Joseph won’t be as expensive as ‘2018’ but it’s okay, we believe in content rather than grandeur”.

Also read: ‘2018’: Film’s success is lauded but critics slam absence of political, Muslim characters

Malayalam cinema in interesting phase

Malayalam cinema is in an interesting phase what with the global recognition ‘Minnal Murali received and the fact that Mohanlal’s ‘Drishyam’ is all set to be remade in Korean.

“However, I feel, as an industry, we should establish a stronger distribution network in the rest of the states of India. Because in Kerala, distributors give a large number of screens for other language films but that’s not the case for our films in other territories. I think, our producers should find a way to get a decent number of screens and try to aggressively push our films into other territories. As the content we make is superior, it’s high time we expanded our boundaries,” he says.

Responding to Prithviraj’s recent comment that Malayalam cinema needs to make an event film like ‘Baahubali’ to grab the attention of other language audiences, he replies, “I agree with him but my point is we are not asking for thousands of screens like ‘Baahubali’ but at least if we get a decent number of screens in the other states, it will be helpful.”

“Also, I feel not all films can become a ‘Baahubali’. Some audiences love slow-paced films. For example, when Tamil movie ‘Aaranya Kaandam’ was released, I was working in Chennai and I loved it. That film wasn’t a commercially successful venture but today, it has become a cult classic. There are audiences like me, who love slow burners and they deserve good screens and showtimes in the city,” exclaims the actor.

Tovino thomas, 2018Tovino says he has done a lot of research about the film business. “Kerala has a population of around 35 million but for an industry hit, only 10 per cent people go and watch the film in theaters. If we push our films to other states and with 130 million people across the country, even 1 per cent footfall will make a big difference. Also, more than in Hollywood, multiple industries in India are making more films so if we stand united and support each other, the revenue generation can be multiplied to a new level,” he argues.

Talking about touring multiple cities to promote ‘2018’, Tovino says, “Well, I have done the same for ‘Minnal Murali’. Now, I’m enjoying this process even more. Hoping to meet the media and do my best to promote my upcoming films across India even if my producers are reluctant. Already, we have taken the initiative to market and release my upcoming film ‘Ajayante Randam Moshanam’ (ARM) in multiple languages.”

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