Director Tinu Pappachan, who is known for his “vibes only” signature in films, says his upcoming film Chaaver (starring Kunchacko Boban) will have the best of both worlds. The film will combine its writer Joy Mathew’s political writing and Tinu’s flair for visual storytelling. “One of my favourite films in Malayalam is Shutter (written and directed by Joy Mathew), so I’ve always wanted to collaborate with him. Chaaver is a political thriller set in Kannur that happens over the course of two days and unlike my previous films, which are set primarily in one location, there is a lot of travel in the film that lets me explore Kannur and its unique geographical terrain.” As he gears up for its release, there is yet another film he’s worked on that he’s excited about: Lijo Jose Pellissery’s first collaboration with Mohanlal, Malaikottai Vaaliban.
The director recalls juggling the edit work for Chaaver during the nights and assisting his mentor Lijo on the sets of Malaikottai Vaaliban during the day. “It was hectic to jump to Malaikottai Vaaliban immediately after the shoot of my biggest film so far. I had to convince my producer and constantly keep switching between these films in my head. But (Malaikottai) Vaaliban is a huge film.” The filmmaker has no qualms assisting Lijo, despite being a director himself. “I wouldn’t have missed out on the chance to be part of Malaikottai Vaaliban at any cost. I don’t think I know everything about films just because I’ve made two or three films. Working with Lijochettan is a constant learning experience for me, both on and off the set,” says Tinu.
Having worked with Lijo for over ten years, Tinu’s films are constantly scrutinised for the maverick director’s influences. “I am only happy when people compare my films to his. I try to make films the way I think fits the story best, but I have never invented anything. I am what I am today only by constantly learning from everything around me and Lijochettan has had a huge influence on me as a filmmaker and as a person.”
Tinu, whose favourite LJP film is Ee.Ma.Yau (2018), talks about his long association with the filmmaker. “When I started out (in the industry) with him, he gradually broke my conventional way of thinking by pointing out the problems in my aesthetics.” Tinu also credits Lijo for helping him learn to deal with failure. He says, “People who know Lijo chettan know that he isn't someone who goes down during failure nor jumps up when he experiences success. He probably learnt some things from the failure of Double Barrel (2015). He experimented with his next film, which was full of fresh faces in Angamaly Diaries (2017).”
Coming back to reflect on Malaikottai Vaaliban, one of the most hyped collaborations in Malayalam cinema this year, Tinu says, “I will watch the film as an ardent fan of both LJP and Mohanlal. I can’t talk much about it, but the only thing I can say now is that I will be watching the film from outside the theatre. I know that the theatres will tremble for Lalettan’s intro scene.”
Watch our full interview with Tinu Pappachan here.