If there is one name in Mollywood that can be termed as bankable in relation to the business of cinema, it is Kunchacko Boban. Yes, reliability is his second name and he has reached that stage through a process of evolution — personally and professionally, understanding that delving into the familiar chocolate boy roles will not suffice. Consequently, in his second innings, his roles have become unpredictable — a suave, well-dressed businessman, a gum-chewing, lungi-clad auto driver, a cunning villain, a priest, a thief, a guide and the list goes on. He is also not adamant about playing lead roles that pivot around him, but would rather do character or even cameos that have an impact in the film.
Every time one talks to Kunchacko (Chackochan as he is fondly called) one is constantly wondering if he has a time machine at home that keeps him forever young? Laughing he says, “I do not go to the gym, but I play badminton and cricket as well as walk and cycle whenever I can.”
There is another elixir for that youth and that is his attitude towards his work. For Chackochan, each day dawns bright with a purpose. He opines, “Each day is new to me; I meet new people, get into the skin of new characters, and get to know new technical stuff, all that keeps me young and fresh and raring to go.”
He ponders a moment and explains, “I have a lot of friends from the software background who tell me that they get exhausted fast and that they do not have the fire in them anymore — it’s the same laptop and the same screen for them day in and day out. Their entire life and world are concentrated and diminished into that small screen.”
“But it is not like that for me — my world is real and wide open. I breathe fresh air, meet real people, hear varied sounds and see different vistas. My acting may be make-believe but even then there are some scenes that I may have witnessed for real which I recreate — all these reasons could be what keep me energised, young and fresh,” he happily says.
Freshness is what he seeks in his scripts as well. In his continued quest for playing novel roles, Chackochan has made sure that his projects this year remain as eclectic as chalk and cheese. His projects like Kuttanadan Marpapa, Panchavarnathatha and Shikari Shambhu where he plays the lead have explored various facets of his acting prowess. “I wanted to prove to a section of people who needled me saying that I act only in heroine-oriented films or multi-starrer films. This time around I wanted to tick the ‘commercially viable actor’ box,” mentioning that he is trying to balance the actor in him as well as the bankable star too.
Chackochan’s upcoming films too are an indication of that. Johny Johny Yes Appa directed by Marthandan is a fun entertainer with commercial elements but is a thriller too. Johny is the middle son of a family. He explains his role, “My father loves me the most because I obey and pay heed to whatever he says. The other two brothers played by Tini Tom and Sharaf U Dheen do not obey our father and his thrifty nature irritates them. The ego of the brothers is brought alive against a beautiful backdrop.” The film, he says, has an impressive cast.
Mangalyam Thanthunanena by Sou Sadanandan is another film he is excited about. “This is a film that the newly married as well as the about-to-be-married couples will absolutely relate to. It is a feel-good, fun film, which has a storyline mimicking real-life incidents,” he says. To illustrate that point Chackochan reveals, “In fact during the shooting of a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law scene, our cameraman was laughing hard and later he told us that such a scene was unfolding in his life. In addition to that, I have the upcoming Allu Ramendran too.”
The industry has been evolving — thoughts, ideas and scripts are undergoing a sea change. And Chackochan is happy with that as he comments, “Change is inevitable! If I did not change, then I would not have reached here. I try to keep up with the evolving technical aspects and fresh ideas. But that does not mean that in the name of change, I will do every role. New subjects are being welcomed and people are flocking back to theatres, which is good.” There is a grievance he has to air though, “I feel too many films are getting released at the same time, which affects the prospects of some films that may take some time to catch up. At any point in time, more than one film is getting released and sometimes a good film may not get the breathing space it deserves because of the long list waiting.”
He is an actor who discusses his scripts with wife Priya and says, “I watch how she reacts to scenes as an audience member. If she is engaged as an audience in the narration, then the initial litmus test has been passed.”
While many of the youngsters and his peers have made a transition to other industries, why has he not taken the plunge? He candidly admits that when he got offers from Tamil he was not interested and now when he is interested he is not getting offers. “I am happy here but I can try my luck in Tamil since I know to speak and read Tamil. I would want to dub for my films and I cannot do that in Telugu, though I do not mind acting in Hindi.”...