I pick subjects, not genres: Prithviraj Sukumaran

I pick subjects, not genres: Prithviraj Sukumaran

The 38-year-old admits that many thrillers have come out recently, which he described as a byproduct of the pandemic

Actor-producer Prithviraj Sukumaran. Credit: DH Photo

Following Cold Case, the release of another Malayalam thriller Kuruthi is merely a coincidence for south star Prithviraj Sukumaran, who says he believes in choosing good scripts as opposed to picking genres.

But the 38-year-old actor-producer admits that many thrillers have come out recently, which he described as a "byproduct" of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Manu Warrier has directed Kuruthi from a script written by Anish Pallya.

"I don't pick genres, I just pick subjects and scripts that come my way," Sukumaran said.

"But yes, of late Malayalam cinema and cinema in general have seen a lot of thrillers and contained films which is obviously a byproduct of the circumstances we are living in. When you start thinking of making cinema in a restricted environment more often than not you are pushed towards making thrillers and stuff like that," he told PTI in a Zoom interview.

Kuruthi, meaning 'ritual slaughter', depicts a tale of how enduring human relations that transcend boundaries, struggle to survive trials of hatred and prejudice.

The actor said Kuruthi discusses an issue that is relevant in the current times.

"The narrative structure might lead you to believe that it is a socio-political thriller. But the content and its import, I'm hoping will convince the viewers that the film is larger than just being relegated to being called a thriller," Sukumaran, who plays a character called Mahmud, added.

While there is no recipe for good or bad cinema for him, the actor believes one can't "design" a film.

"It's about having a story to tell and knowing a director who would know how to tell it. Pretty much it all ends there."

His last theatrical release was the thriller Ayyappanum Koshiyum, which hit the screens in February 2020 just around the time the coronavirus pandemic struck the country.

After Cold Case, Kuruthi is also heading to Amazon Prime Video for a digital release on August 11.

If a script demands a certain kind of making that will be compromised amid the ongoing health crisis, one must not make it, the actor noted.

That is why the sequel to his directorial debut Lucifer, starring Mohanlal, which was supposed to happen this year has been put on hold.

"There's no way I can pull that film off right now," Sukumaran said of the follow-up to the 2019 movie.

"You only do films that you know can be made the way they should be made under the current situation. The nature of 'Kuruthi' and its script was such that I was confident of pulling it off with no compromises under complete Covid protocols in place," he added.

There was a certain budget set aside for sanitation, protocols and testing on the film set, said Sukumaran. "Even with all these things in place, Kuruthi had zero compromises in its making and the way it was executed."

The actor, who has backed Kuruthi via his Prithviraj Productions along with Supriya Menon, said as a banner they ensure that the films they bankroll "stand out for content, not for anything else".

As a performer, one is not in control of the execution, so sometimes the film that eventually materialises is nothing like the one visualised when they read the script, he explained.

"Sometimes it's very pleasant and the film that eventually materialises is better than the film you saw (when you read the script). There are times when visions align. As a producer, one is more in control of the execution. One can make sure that before they start the film, their vision align with director and the writer . That way I feel a lot more in control when I'm producing content."

Sukumaran has often talked about directing a film in Hindi and the multihyphenate artist said while many offers have come his way, the biggest obstacle is time. He has starred in Hindi films like Aiyyaa", Aurangzeb and Naam Shabana.

"I personally didn't even have time for Bro Daddy," he said about his directorial billed as a "fun family drama" that is currently being shot. The film marks his reunion with Mohanlal after "Lucifer".

Sukumaran, who also stars in Bro Daddy along with Kalyani Priyadarshan, said the production on the film was jump started courtesy the lockdown.

"I was sitting idle and all these big films that I was doing were on floors, we knew we'll not be able to restart any of them any time soon. So I had a script I really liked and had bought. Mr Mohalal and I live in the same building, so one evening I told him what the film is about and he said let's do it. So that's how this film happened," he said.

The actor has also finished filming for Bhramam, the Malayalam adaptation of the National Award-winning Hindi film Andhadhun.

"The post-production on Bhramam is also complete. We will very soon get to hear the details about its release," he added.