Big Brother director Siddique is all praise for his film's lead star Mohanlal
The action-drama, currently playing in UAE theatres, which marks Mohanlal and Siddique's reunion also stars Bollywood star Arbaaz Khan
Big Brother sees the reunion of acclaimed director Siddique with Mohanlal after six years. The duo, who last worked together in Ladies and Gentlemen (2013), have teamed up yet again to bring oodles of action and comedy to the audiences.
Known for movies like Vietnam Colony, In Harihar Nagar, Bhaskar The Rascal, and Hera Pheri, in Big Brother, we see Mohanlal in the role of Sachidanadan, who is admitted to a juvenile home for committing an unintentional murder. The drama unfolds as he is caught in a fight against a powerful drug racket when he is let out.
Working with Mohanlal is no small feat. The magnanimous actor is one of the biggest names in the South Indian industry. "Working with an actor of Mohanlal's calibre is always a thrilling experience, simply because the possibilities are limitless - he'll never say no to trying out new things or taking risks. No matter how arduous the task may seem, he's always ready to have a go, and is willing to go to great lengths to complete the job in hand. Naturally, it's a sheer bliss for any filmmaker to create a character for Mohanlal. At the same time, it is also a huge responsibility to shoulder, as expectations are pretty high. Of course, there's also the added pressure of Lal and I working together after a long gap," shared Siddique in an email interview with CT.
Seems like the director has an affinity with the Khan brothers too. He had previously worked with Salman Khan on Bodyguard and when he approached Arbaaz with Big Brother, the actor was keen on working with the acclaimed director. "He accepted the role without any hesitation, stating that he'd always wanted to appear in a Malayalam movie. He felt happy that he was being part of a film which I was not only directing but also producing. The icing on the cake according to Arbaaz was the rare opportunity he had to share screen space with Mohanlal Sir, which had apparently been a long-standing desire of his," the director said.
Khan, who appears as a North Indian police officer attached to the South Indian cadre, is pivotal to the story according to Siddique and his role is almost as important as that of the protagonist, the director informed us.
Excerpts from our interview:
There is a lot of expectations considering you and Mohanlal are working together after six years. Does it scare you or are you excited?
It's a mixed bag. It's certainly true that when expectations are sky high, it brings along a certain amount of responsibility and stress. Initially, I was tense because Lal and I were collaborating after a gap of six years. Writing a role for Mohanlal isn't a mean feat. Once we decided to work together, there was a clear need to create a role that Lal hadn't portrayed before, which was daunting in itself, as he's brought alive on screen all sorts of conceivable characters. This was a slow and laborious exercise which finally formed the crux of the film. On Lal's character taking shape, exciting times lay ahead, as a story then needed to be woven around him. I was ecstatic on seeing Lal bring this character alive on screen in his own inimitable style.
Arbaaz Khan makes a strong presence in the movie. What made you cast him?
During initial discussions about who to cast in this role, many names cropped up, but I had always had Arbaaz in mind while writing the script. When I proposed his name, the entire team of Big Brother got excited, as there was a general feeling that the role was tailor-made for him.
He volunteered to fly down to Kerala, as he also wanted to meet Lal in person. He arrived in Kochi and we met Lal on the sets of Ittymaani. It was during this visit that I narrated the story of Big Brother to Arbaaz. On hearing the story and a narration of his character, he was thrilled and said he was really looking forward to being a part of the project.
Everyone who has seen a preview of the film, including Mohanlal, has said that no other actor could have done complete justice to this role, which I feel speaks volumes about Arbaaz's performance in the film. Overall, there's no doubt that Arbaaz is a definite plus as far as Big Brother goes.
The trailer of Big Brother teases us with a lot of exciting drama. What can we expect from the film?
As indicated by the trailer, Big Brother is an action thriller. Until now, the predominant element in my movies has been humour. Big Brother too has lighter moments, but it is more of a taut action-packed thriller. It also has melodious songs, heart-wrenching emotional scenes, and some strong characters.
What viewers may find surprising is that Big Brother has some spectacular action sequences, something that my films aren't known for.
Finally, Mohanlal's character has also shaped up really well, and as expected, he's turned in a highly nuanced performance. All in all, I'd like to believe that the film has all the necessary ingredients in proportionate quantities. It's a complete entertainer that'll whip up the crowds, creating a festive atmosphere at cinemas.
Malayalam movies have come a long way but it's straying away from being solely entertainment-focused and are more character driven nowadays. What are your thoughts on the transformation that the industry is going through?
Malayalam cinema has gone from strength to strength due to its ability to embrace change. What we see today is an evolutionary process that began a number of years ago and that has taken into account changes in society and the tastes of moviegoers.
Personally speaking, I don't feel out of my depth when confronted by such changes. For one thing, I've always made a conscious effort to keep pace with changes in cinema. Even during my initial years as a director, the films I made had strong plots or revolved around characters that left an indelible impression on the viewer.
What has changed, though, is the entire audio-visual experience that moviegoers get to have nowadays, thanks in no small measure to advances in technology. There's no doubt that movies these days can take viewers on a magical journey.
I have never been one to shy away from experimenting or using technology - even in this film, we've used the latest technology available to provide a visual treat to audiences.