Shreekumar Menon, who is directing Mohanlal in Odiyan, says that the character is based on a mythical king of the darkness, a dark-magic creature that is both half-man and half-beast.
Odiyan is touted as Malayalam’s most expensive film yet, and features Mohanlal playing Manikkan. Not much has been revealed about the character or the film’s plot so far. We do know that Mohanlal lost weight to play the role. Now, a Manorama Online story quotes the films’s director, Shreekumar Menon, talking about the mythical Odiyan and Mohanlal’s character.
The director said, “Odiyan exists at the margins of a curious mix of history and folklore. Odiyan, the dreaded black magician, can nip off a fully grown fetus from a mother’s womb with the tip of a bamboo. A blanket of mystery and fear shrouds the half man- half beast that prowls through the night, with the wand of wicked magic.”
Elaborating on the role, Shreekumar said, “Odiyans ruled the nightmarish darkness of the pre-electrification era in Kerala villages. With the lesser mortals shrinking in fear with the fall of darkness, the dreaded black magician could be lurking around anywhere; he could be on the high branches nearby, behind a fence or on those long meandering paths crisscrossing the vast lonely paddy fields.”
The film apparently covers a 50-year period in a village in Palaghat, Kerala, from 1950 to 2000. Increasing electrification and lighting slowly drives the Odiyans to extinction.