Harikrishnan, who works as a journalist at a leading Malayalam daily, and is the writer of the Mohanlal starrer Odiyan says the idea of the movie originated during one of his journalism classes.
“As an idea for a feature copy I posed the students with a question – What if Steven Spielberg came to Palakkad to meet the last Odiyan? The question struck a chord with me and the word ‘last’ triggered the idea for the movie,” he said, according to a report.
Mohanlal famously underwent a physical as well as cosmetic transformation as part of the preparation for his character Odiyan Manikyan in the movie. This practice, largely restricted to a few of the younger crop of actors like Jayasuriya, has been unheard of in Malayalam until now. At a recent press conference in Kottayam, Harikrishnan said, “It’s an ultimate Mohanlal film. The character is crafted keeping the great actor in mind, and the story plot makes immense use of the flexibility of his body and acting ability.”
According to legends, the Odiyan community with their capability to transform into other creatures were hired by people to scare others during the night.
About this, the writer says in a Hindu report, “Odiyan is not a myth, it’s a clan that really existed. Each village had at least one Odiyan family, who was paid to give people a scare. Attached to their profession were a whole lot of mythical stories about their supernatural ability to assume the figure of different animals in split seconds, among other things.”
Set in Thenkurissi village in Palakkad district, the story of the movie takes place 50 years ago and talk about the last Odiyan. If features Mohanlal in two looks. The story also has a part that takes place in Varanasi.
Manju Warrier plays the female lead. Manju and Mohanlal have appeared together in movies like Kanmadam and Araam Thampuran, a pairing that has been long cherished by the viewers.
“When I saw Mohanlal in the first line of the story, Manju Warrier was there in the very next line of my thought. The story gives equal importance to the character played by Manju and Prakash Raj, who plays the antagonist,” said the National Award-winning writer of Kutty Shrank.
Incidentally, Prakash Raj acted alongside Mohanlal in Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar, a movie that has been celebrated as a classic. Six years ago, Prakash Raj was supposed to play the role of Alexi in Mohanlal’s Spirit – a role that eventually went to Shankar Ramakrishnan.
Odiyan marks the debut of adman turned filmmaker V.A. Shreekumar Menon as a feature film director. Famous for his Kalyan Jewellers Ad featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Manju Warrier, the director had announced his next project based on the M.T. Vasudevan Nair’s novel Randamoozham. Touted as the costliest movie ever and featuring Mohanlal, the project has been stalled owing to a case filed by the writer over the delay in its start.
Odiyan’s trailer released recently and comprised of action sequences. These have been choreographed by Peter Hein and shot by cinematographer Shaji Kumar, who has worked with Mohanlal on films like Naran and Pulimurugan in the past. Produced by Antony Perumbavoor, Odiyan is slated for a December 14 release.
Watch the trailer of the movie here: