Mohanlal-starrer Mr. Fraud is a thriller about a con man, says its director B. Unnikrishnan.

Mohanlal and B. Unnikrishnan are on the cusp of a hat trick. This team’s winning streak will be put to test this week when Mr. Fraud is expected to reach the marquee. Writer-director Unnikrishnan says although their strike rate and expectations impose a huge burden on them, he is happy with the way the film has shaped up. Both their previous outings, Madambi and Grandmaster, had proved to be lucky for the duo.

However there is a difference this time. Madambi came at a time when Mohanlal had hit a bad patch and it helped him overcome that with the success of the film. Grandmaster saw the director give Mohanlal a makeover that turned to be a trendsetter with many leading actors adding a dash of grey to their hair and stubble.

But this time the superstar is riding a wave post Drishyam, a period when the actor has scaled heights of critical acclaim and commercial success. “I am aware of that and this is perhaps the first film of mine that has played up his star status. This is not to say that it is a one-man film. Mr. Fraud is about a con man. He decides to call it a day after one last job when he is caught in a predicament. How he extricates himself from that is the plot of the film. More than an action film, it is a thriller but one that delves into the inner world of the protagonist,” explains the film director who has made a name for himself with his whodunits on the big and small screen. He enjoys playing a cat and mouse game with his viewers by scattering several false leads before revealing his hand.

Unnikrishnan adds that the three heroines – Mia George, Manjari Phadnis and Pallavi – in the film have well-defined characters and are not mere eye candy. He says even though their share of screen space or duration might be short, their roles are not incidental. “Moreover the three are independent women who do not follow conventional norms of what is right and wrong. They go by their own sense of what is right,” he adds.

Mr. Fraud has Mohanlal in four or give get-ups and the director says all that he has done is come up with a character that has the actor playing his age. “He is a heist man and so he is forced to adapt different looks in his line of work. To get the look right, we got an artist, P.K. Unnikrishnan, from Kannur to make sketches of each one,” says Unnikrishnan.

The filmmaker also points out the work of his cameraman, Satheesh Kurup, whose frames, he says, were outstanding during the shooting of the film in Kochi, Palakkad, Jaipur and Mumbai.

Gopi Sundar has scored the music of the film that is climbing northwards in music charts. “It is some time since we heard Mohanlal’s characters render songs with a touch of classical base. It must be a first for Gopi,” says Unnikrishnan.

Dismissing the trend of many directors trying to give a spin to their works by keeping it under wraps, he says the only reason why he was reluctant to talk about Mr. Fraud was because he did not want to give away the story. “I would like viewers to see the film and judge for themselves,” he says. The film is produced under the banner of A.V.A Productions.

Unnikrishnan’s next film is also likely to be a Mohanlal starrer.