For Unni Mukundan, 2017 was a year of self - realisation, a year that prompted him to take daring steps. One such step was turning an antagonist in Mammootty- starrer Masterpiece.
"It was a huge risk and I wouldn't have dared to take it up, if not for Ajai Vasudev and Udaykrishna. Turning an antagonist in a movie, which rides on Mammootty's aura, is no simple task. You need to be able to stand up to his face. I wouldn't have played John Thekkan in Masterpiece if Ajai chettan wasn't my friend," says Unni.
But, then John Thekkan proved a successful move and this has boosted his confidence. That reflects in his latest movie Ira.
"People ask me whether I play a hero or a villain. It is liberating that I don't carry the burden of a certain image anymore. This is what I wished for," he adds. He tells Ira is a thriller, refusing to reveal more about the details. "The crew is like family to me. It is the same team from Mallu Singh," says Unni.
Turning to Telugu
Unni Mukundan's name has always been associated with commercial flicks, so his Tollywood entry didn't come as a surprise. But, Unni says both his Telugu movies were as realistic as it could get.
"There is a popular notion here that Telugu movies are flashy. But, it is ironic that both my characters there were very realistically portrayed, especially Bhagmathie. Shakti is ver y unl ike the male characters we see here. He is not into himself. His thoughts are about the people around him. That way he is the most selfless guy. Bhagmathie doing well has made me a happy man," says Unni.
But, the actor says he has no plans to focus on Telugu. "I started out here. Telugu happened and I would like to do more films too. But, if at all I belong anywhere, it is in Malayalam," he says.
A great start
The actor says 2018 is shaping up quite well for him. He shares his hopes for Chanakyathantram, an action thriller, where he plays a detective. The movie also sees him experimenting with his looks."I appear in four different avatars. Physically, the effort I put in for the movie was great. The lady get-up needed hours of makeup. It is just a few minutes in the movie, still, that was a lot of hard work," says Unni. He also has a couple of movies in hand, including director Vysakh's next.
"So, far it is going well. I hope being in this industry for so long has urged me to change my outlook. I am getting more involved, the first step being staring a production venture," he adds. Ira will hit the screens on March 3, Chanakyathant ram will release on March 29.