The Big M - Mamootty
Cinema might have changed, but Mammootty and his stardom haven't; with nearly 15 films in the pipeline, including three mammoth projects, the actor is all set to rule 2018
For an actor with a monumental career spanning three decades and over 300 films, there would be very little left untouched. Very few characters would remain unexplored and fewer shades unattempted. But even then Mammootty holds a promise, how else can one explain the buzz Bilal John Kurisingal created a few days back.
In that sense, 2018 is going to be a grand year for Mammootty, one that will push the actor in him to explore myriad terrains like never before. Probably, the busiest year for him too, in terms of releases. While one will see the epic-hero Mammootty in Kunjali Marickar and Mammaankam, he will also return to his grounded avatar with a slew of roles.
Very few celluloid characters must have the kind of cult following that Bilal John Kurisingal enjoys. When Bilal was announced a decade after Big B hit the screens, the entire industry took note. Rumours about the sequel (or prequel?) began to circulate, with some speculating that Bilal will finally bring Dulquer Salman and Mammootty together. Whatever the casting may be, Bilal will undoubtedly be Mammootty's most notable work in 2018, with the initial opening expected to surpass even the biggest industry hits.
When Mammootty took to Facebook, probably for the first time to announce a project of his, M-Town got a whiff of the mega project titled Mammaankam, that was taking shape for the last few years. Director Sajeev Pillai promises that Mammaankam would showcase Mammootty like never before.
"Besides the warrior he plays, the character also traverses many emotional terrains. He might be a 'veera purushan' in Maammaankam, but one can also see an entirely different facet of his character, something everyone will relate to," says Sajeev. The director assures us that the project will definitely go on the floors in 2018.
While Santhosh Sivan's Kunjali Marickar, too, will showcase Mammootty as an invincible warrior, the actor will return to his 'valyettan avatar' in scriptwriter Sethu's debut outing as a director. Titled Oru Kuttanadan Blog, the flick will have Mammootty playing a brotherly figure Hari, who comes back to his native place Kuttanad after a prolonged life outside India.
Though the actor has time and again attempted many big brother characters, director Sethu says this one will be different and more realistic, courtesy the novel pattern of the narrative. "He can be a super-hero and the most relatable person at the same time. Oru Kuttanadan Blog has him in one such role. Hariyettan is a character we are all familiar with. You will connect instantly," he adds.
Sethu is thrilled to have him in his debut film. "He is my guru, and if I can direct Mammootty, then I can do it with anyone else. That is the level of confidence he gives," he adds.
Mammootty will also play a significant character in Ranjith's Oru Bilathikadha, written by Sethu himself. Besides these projects, many directors, including K Madhu (Sethurama Iyer sequel) and Basil Joseph, are waiting for a green signal from Mammootty to kick-start their projects. He also will be working on Khalid Rahman's next.
While the actor's next year is jam-packed, he will also have five back-to-back releases, the shoot of which have already been wrapped up. Of this, one is a bi-lingual and another, a Tamil outing.
Ajai Vasudev's Masterpiece will be the actor's Christmas release, while bi-lingual Streetlights will hit the screens in January. Director Shamdat Sainudheen says, "Streetlights will have the Mammootty we love. When I planned the film, I wanted a Mammootty who we wish to see, someone who is serious, yet very logical."
The director says Streetlights will have the actor in a macho avatar, but not as someone who rains blows or does adrenalin-pumping acts. "His heroism is not in his actions, but in his behaviour," says Shamdat.
Uncle, scripted by Joy Mathew, is another film that has Mammootty in a fresh avatar. He plays a character with shades of grey.
Then, lining up for release are the Tamil film Peranbu and Sarath Sandith's Parole, where he plays a jailbird.