Vishnu Mohan: Kadha Innuvare will resonate with anyone who has ever had a love story

The director, who recently won the National Award for Meppadiyan, talks about his next and its aspirations
Vishnu Mohan: Kadha Innuvare will resonate with anyone who has ever had a love story

After an impressive debut with Meppadiyan, for which he won the National award, director Vishnu Mohan is currently working on Kadha Innuvare, a love story. Though Vishnu had initially announced another film, Pappa, with his Meppadiyan star Unni Mukundan, the director decided to drop it as he wanted to do a rather "safe film". "For any filmmaker, their second film is extremely crucial as it's vital to prove that you're not a 'one film wonder'. So, instead of experimenting, I decided to play it safe by doing a film like Kadha Innuvare, which, I feel, has a minimum guarantee on the paper itself."

Elaborating on the film, Vishnu adds, "It's a pure love story. Our tagline is—please don't watch the film if you haven't fallen in love ever. I don't think such a person exists. Everyone must have felt love at some point in their life. That's why I believe it's a widely relatable film."

Kadha Innuvare's cast includes Biju Menon, Anu Mohan, Nikhila Vimal, Anusree, Hakkim Shahjahan, Siddique, and Renji Panicker. Renowned classical dancer Methil Devika is also making her acting debut with this film. Vishnu says it took a lot of persuasion from his side to convince her. "For one of the major characters in the film, we wanted an elegant woman in her 40s, and we thought it would be refreshing if we could cast someone new yet popular. It was while discussing a few options that Methil Devika's name popped up, but we weren't sure if she would agree. We still took a chance and went to meet her. During our first meeting itself, she made it clear that she was not interested in cinema. Upon my insistence, she heard the story and liked it. But she was still not willing to take it up," shares Vishnu, who wasn't one to give up that easily. His relentless persistence lasted for over a year. "Many tried to dissuade me from wasting my time. I heard she had been refusing movie offers right from the time she was 13.  A prominent star even told me about how she turned down an offer to act opposite him. But I was determined, and tried convincing her through constant calls and messages. She told me about her concerns, and I managed to get them clarified one by one. I think she finally agreed because of my regular pestering," laughs Vishnu, as he goes on to add how they made things comfortable for her during the shoot. Since she was pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship at ISRO's Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram, the team shot most of her portions there and accommodated their schedules according to her convenience. "Her presence is a huge boost for the film, and she is also very happy with the experience."

Besides scripting and directing, Kadha Innuvare also has Vishnu doubling up as a producer along with Plan J Studios and Imagin Cinemas. Though it has so far been a "smooth journey, made on his own terms", Vishnu recalls how the scenario was entirely different when he was trying to do his first film. "It was a huge struggle. I had discussions with around 46 producers, but most of them were not ready to back the film as they were concerned about Unni's existing image then. Since he was more into action and urban tales, it was hard for people to be convinced that a newcomer like me can break that stereotype." Eventually, Unni himself produced the film and it turned out to be a sleeper hit. Recalling how Meppadiyan made the road ahead easier for him, Vishnu adds, "Beyond the film's success, what worked in my favour is how I overcame the 'stereotype concerns'. Personally, I'm not sure if I would've got the same satisfaction had I done it with any other actor." Although they dropped their earlier announced film, Pappa, Vishnu confirms doing another film with Unni Mukundan soon. Besides that, the director also reveals committing to a big-budget film with another popular star, an announcement for which will be made soon.

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