Abhilash Joshiy is no stranger to the Malayalam industry. The son of veteran hitmaker Joshiy, Abhilash is helming one of the biggest Malayalam films in recent times: the period gangster film, King Of Kotha, which is all set to hit screens this Onam weekend. It is, without a doubt, a dream debut any filmmaker could ask for.
King of Kotha chronicles the story of an isolated island city ruled over by a gangster, played by Dulquer Salmaan, and features Aishwarya Lakshmi, Prasanna, Shabeer Kallarakkal, Nyla Usha and Gokul Suresh in supporting roles. The first-look posters, promos, songs, and trailer shared by the team have created unparalleled expectations for the film, which is expected to test the capacity of a Malayalam product across the regional languages. Speaking about his state of mind as the film's release inches closer, Abhilash quips, "I didn't have the time to be nervous as I had to deliver the film. Now that I just finished delivering the final copy of the film, I think I'll be a little nervous for the next couple of days leading up to release. "
Recalling the initial days of filming the big-budgeted period piece, Abhilash shares, “I was tense when the shooting began as there were some scheduling conflicts. I was also nervous as we had to shoot Dulquer’s introduction sequence during the first few days, and it was a big challenge. Filmmakers usually plan to shoot the lighter parts intially and get into the beats of the character gradually.”
Abhilash also commented on the opportunity to work with a heavy budget for his debut and how he managed to keep the huge number of junior artists and properties on the bay while learning on the go. The director notes, "For the introduction scene, we had 400 to 500 junior artists on set at all the time as it was a major action block and all frames needed these people in one way or the other. I knew it would be a challenge to coordinate these logistical entities but the production team was so supportive, and never made me feel short of what we needed for each shot.”
King of Kotha, is written by Abhilash Chandran, who has also penned the script for Joshiy’s Potinju Mariam Jose (2019). Did Abhilash's directorial style resemble his dad’s in any way while working with the same writer? “I don't think there is any comparison at all. You should ask the writer to know more about that. I will be the happiest and proudest person if audiences feel that there is a shadow of my father’s style and technique in King of Kotha. My father has directed more than 100 films in a long career and I am just starting out. There is no comparison."
On his experience working with his longtime friend Dulquer Salman, Abhilash recalls, “I have known him since our childhood, and we grew up together. We have always had a good connection and he agreed to do the film when I took the script to him. He was on the same creative page and wanted me to make my debut with this kind of film. Honestly, he wanted me to do an action film, something that is commercially viable. Dulquer too faced some issues as he had to get into the character from day one as we shot out of order, with the heavier parts falling early in the schedule. So he had to pick up the subtler beats quickly and we reworked many scenes to get him to the groove. We were particular about presenting him in a new, never-before-seen avatar.”
Speaking about his father's longevity as a successful filmmaker for over four decades, the youngster shares, “My father is quite updated with the changing landscape of cinema. He still watches more films than me daily and makes it a point to catch all new releases in the theater itself. He is aware of what's going around him, and, being a movie buff, he always thinks only about cinema. He also concentrates on the script, paying great attention to minute details. I think his script sense is sharp and it makes a whole lot of difference.”