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Malayalam movie on Lord Ayyappa becomes a superhit as it enters the Rs 100 crore club, Hindi version to release soon

The blockbuster Malikappuram, helmed by Vishnu Sasi Shankar, will be released in Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada on January 26 in light of the success of the original Malayalam version. The Hindi version will be released a week later.

Malikappuram, a recent Malayalam movie starring Unni Mukundan, has the actor on cloud nine. The film, which debuted on December 30, 2022, and with a megre budget of Rs 3.5 crore, has grossed close to Rs 100 crores at the box office.

Unni Mukundan had three back-to-back hits after this movie’s popularity, including Meppadiyan and Shafeekinte Santosham. The 12th Man actor discusses popularity, Malikappuram, and getting trolled in a exclusive interview with IndiaToday.in.

The blockbuster Malikappuram, helmed by Vishnu Sasi Shankar, will be released in Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada on January 26 in light of the success of the original Malayalam version. This was confirmed by Unni. A week later, the Hindi version will be available.

How sure was he that Malikapuram would work? “I was very confident about the script. It revolves around Sabarimala and Lord Ayyappa. I knew that it would do well in Kerala because of the Sabarimala issue, but Malikappuram is not about the controversy and it is non-controversial,” stated Unni Mukundan.

He added that despite the fact that his previous films, Mepaddiyan and Shafeekinte Santosham, received accolades and were financially successful, he still encountered bashing on social media.

“Even with this film on Lord Ayyappa, some people tried to do that but this movie is not about Hinduism. Some people hesitated to watch the film because they thought it had religious undertones, but when they saw it, they realised it is a beautiful story of a young girl who wants to meet Lord Ayyappa,” added Unni Mukundan. “It is about the concept of tatvamasi – the idea that God is within you.”

Unni is an ardent follower of Ayyappa. In order to express his gratitude to Lord Ayyappa for the movie’s success, he recently made a visit to Sabarimala. “People should watch the film and enjoy the film and appreciate the effort put in by the actors, including the young kids – Deva Nandha and Sreepath. Malikappuram is designed as cinema and is meant to entertain,” said the Bro Daddy actor with a gleaming smile.

Malikappuram was screened before Thalapathy Vijay’s Varisu and Ajith Kumar’s Thunivu, the two Pongal movies, in Tamil Nadu. “When these two films released in Kerala, they cut down the number of screens for Malikappuram but the audience chose to watch my film and the movie has made Rs 4 crore so far. It’s one of the highest-grossing Malayalam films now. Obviously, stars and bigger films will take the bigger piece of the pie, but I believe that it’s the movie that makes a star. For me, a national release is more important than competing with anyone,” remarked Unni Mukundan.

“Things will change for me once Malikapuram is released across India. You know, the script for this film was floating around in the industry for four years. Mepaddiyan was also rejected by others before I said yes to it. I am grateful we were able to make Malaikapuram so well in 40 to 50 days despite the limited resources we had. If it had been a bad film, it would have backfired,” the Shefeekkinte Santhosham actor declared honestly.

When asked how he dealt with the trolling he received on social media, Unni responded, “I am a 90s kid and I try to cope with all these social media comments. I realize that people will have an opinion of you no matter what. When I gained weight for a role, I got trolled for it. I am used to having face-to-face interactions and dealing with all these anonymous faces is not so easy for me.”

Unni disclosed that he is reading screenplays for his forthcoming movies, but he is now working on the two-part film Gandharva Jr., which is being directed by rookie Vishnu Arvind. “This fantasy movie will appeal to the youth, kids and families. I was in Samantha’s Yashoda and I am also looking at Telugu scripts because they offer me roles which Malayalam cinema doesn’t offer. I don’t want to sign films in all languages just because I am being offered them, it’s not the right strategy. I think after India sees Malikappuram, my career will definitely change,” observed Unni Mukundan.

For the first time since the pandemic, family audiences are returning to movie theatres in big numbers because to Unni Mukundan’s Malikappuram, which has been a resounding triumph for the whole film industry. The film has already established itself as Unni’s biggest success.

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