‘Underworld’ has no heroes; all characters have shades of grey: Arunkumar Aravind

Asif Ali in a still from ‘Underworld’   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Four ambitious men who will stop at nothing in their desire to be rich, powerful and successful. They are the protagonists of Arunkumar Aravind’s new film Underworld releasing today. The editor-turned-director has come up with a testosterone-filled film that trails the men as they go about the easiest way to reach their destination. “Do they? And how do they envisage reaching there? That’s the story,” says Arun.

Arunkumar Aravind

Arunkumar Aravind   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Shot in Thalassery, Kannur and Mangalore, the story written by Shibin Francis, stars Mukesh, Asif Ali, Farhan Fazil and Lal Jr in the lead roles of Padmanabhan Nair, Stalin John, Majeed and Solomon. In an interesting makeover, Mukesh appears as a corrupt politician.

Mukesh as Padmanabhan Nair in a still from Arunkumar Aravind’s Underworld

Mukesh as Padmanabhan Nair in a still from Arunkumar Aravind’s Underworld   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

“All the four men are unscrupulous in their own way when it comes to getting what they want. Usually Malayalam cinema portrays the underworld as a grey area in the metros or the big cities. The fact is that every state in India has its own underbelly and each has a distinctive identity. My film is about the underworld in Kerala where there are nefarious and questionable deals brokered and broken. Drugs, smuggling, trafficking and counterfeit are all part of the deal in those grey zones of every city,” says Arun.

Known for his adept handling of parallel stories of characters in his earlier films such as Cocktail, Ee Adutha Kalathu, Left, Right, Left and Kattu, Arun says the characters in the film have been well-etched out by the writer.

Lal Jr in a still from Arunkumar Aravind’s Underworld

Lal Jr in a still from Arunkumar Aravind’s Underworld   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

“What is interesting is that there are no heroes in this film; all of them have shades of grey that come to the fore when they are in a tight spot,” adds Arun.

Reluctant to narrate more, Arun says it is about what happens to those young men when a deal involving a huge sum of money goes wrong, forcing them to travel down a certain path to get it sorted out. “In many of our films, people in the underworld are shown as gangsters. That is a misconception. These could be the guys next door and the guns starts blazing only when they are cornered or when they are thwarted in whatever they set out to do,” he adds.

“Stalin John, essayed by Asif, is a small town guy, street smart and savy, who was once politically active. Majeed is from Mangalore, a college dropout who earns a living by arranging admissions and getting a commission on that. What makes them different is that these guys don’t mind taking risks; they are daredevils in their own way,” narrrates Arun.

Samyuktha Menon and Ketaki Narayan play the female leads in the film.

The filmmaker says they are the catalysts in the narrative that focusses on the trials and tribulations of the four men.

Produced under the banner of D14 Entertainments, Alex J Pulickal has cranked the camera for the film, and music has been composed by Yakzan Gary Pereira and Neha Nair.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 7:28:15 AM |

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