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At the risk of sounding morbid I am reminded of my amma’s words, “we should lead life such that when we die, people should say “ ‘So sad (s)he’s gone’ and not ‘Thank God she’s dead’!”
This is what flashed in my mind when I met Unnikrishnan whose latest directorial venture ‘Grand master’ starring Mohanlal is releasing worldwide very soon. He stands testimony to leading a fulfilled life where his phone’s contact list must be overflowing with genuine friends who think he is ‘a sweet heart’!

We had met him a month ago, Latha my ‘subtitling sishya’ and I…can you believe this…he had said Green Park and I assumed (a friend of mine often tells me ‘when you assume, you make an ass of and me, rekhs) it to be The park and we waited and wondered why he was not turning up on time! The courteous and chivalrous man that he is, he was more apologetic than us!!

We immediately liked his simplicity and earnestness…no airs and graces, no high and mighty attitude, so down-to-earth and sincere.

I met him again today and this time right venue…despite his ‘last minute million things to do’ before release he gave his 101% time and attention.

Only child of an English professor, Unni also became an English professor though God had other plans for him. It always touches a chord in me when I hear of how God waves His magic wand in His own specially orchestrated way to define peoples’ lives.
Unni’s dad used to percolate into his only child ‘Wren and Martin’ English which Unni nicknamed as ‘tool of torture’…viz a viz his literary affinity to Malayalam language because of his 8th grade teacher Padmanabhan sir.
Unni is still trying to trace him!

2 people who were instrumental in defining his destiny (both share the same name) Balachandra Menon who introduced him to World cinema and P.Balachandran who (script writer for Ulladakkam) bridged the gap from real world to reel world for Unni.

To Unni goes the credit of bringing internet to Kerala through his Navajeevan computer company. After his stint here, scripting which was always a passion within him came to the forefront. He wrote his first screenplay, yet to be made into a film…maiden effort, like ‘first love’ always has a special place reserved in all our hearts. I hope Unni gets time and opportunity to bring this to reality on the silver screen.

The 1st off beat film he wrote the screenplay for, was Jalamarmaram (whisper of waters) the world seen through the eyes of a young boy. He was the proud and well deserved recipient of many awards for his penmanship.

Prior to this Unni had connected with Suresh Gopi, thanks to director T.K. Rajeev Kumar. Unni remembers with great fondness how Suresh at the peak of his career and being an established artiste came to meet him without any ego hassles and on hearing the story immediately agreed to act.

It was Suresh Kumar who linked him in the right way to write ‘Cover story’ starring Suresh Gopi and Tabu directed by G.S.Vijayan. This was followed by his script for Shivam directed by Shaji Kailas.

In 2004 Unni honed his writing skills with a taut story line in the TV serial ‘Black and white’ and this led him to the next point in his eventful career ‘Tiger’ directed again by Shaji Kailas, starring Suresh Gopi. This was a soooper hit that broke all Box office records.

As I said in the beginning God had a special plan laid out for Unni…to direct his own film besides penning it. ‘Annum Mazhai ayirunnu’ (That day too it rained) co-produced and directed by Unni and telecast by Amritha TV today bagged 6 Kerala State Television Awards -2005 in feature section, including best tele-film and best actor. It just took him 5 days to write and 7 days to shoot!

This gave him the confidence to debut as director of a feature film, Smart city, starring Suresh Gopi in 2006 and Madampi (feudal land lords) starring Mohanlal in 2008 which  was a mega hit, more than just being ‘talk of the town’!
Rest is his-story…IG, Aviramam (Kerala café) Pramani, The thriller.

Now he is back in the fray with Grandmaster starring Mohanlal and Priya mani.
His undaunted spirit matched with his equanimity makes Unni an example many of the aspiring young film makers can adapt / adopt.

Here’s a man whose passion and perseverance has taken him places…and made him realize dreams that were part of his childhood subconscious mind.
Success has not gone to his head, he is still the same simple man who replies to phone calls, text messages promptly and meets people he promises, punctually!
Added to all this, he has passed GDGH (Great Dad and Greater Husband) with flying colors besides his M.Phil!
It is a tightrope that he walks as a son, husband, dad, director, script writer, friend, philosopher, guide AND General secretary of The Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) managing 16 trade unions!! Phew! That’s quite a phenomenal feat.

If I ever get a chance to meet Unni’s mom and dad, this is what I intend telling them, “Kudos, you’ve done a great job on your son!”

All the best Unni and may Grand Master be a Grand land mark in your sky rocketing career…and through it may the world out there know that Indian cinema rocks!

Pinne kaaNaam!


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