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‘Mukundan Unni Associates’: How the hit Malayalam thriller got made, a deep dive with director Abhinav Sunder Nayak and co-writer Vimal Gopalakrishnan

Malayalam actor-filmmaker Vineeth Sreenivasan stars as a psychopathic lawyer who mints money from fake accident insurance claims in the film, which is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

January 16, 2023 / 07:47 PM IST
Vineeth Sreenivasan in the 2022 Malayalam film 'Mukundan Unni Associates', currently on Disney+ Hotstar.

Vineeth Sreenivasan in the 2022 Malayalam film 'Mukundan Unni Associates', currently on Disney+ Hotstar.

In 2014, Mukundan Unni Associates director Abhinav Sunder Nayak watched the Hollywood film Nightcrawler at Sathyam Cinemas in Chennai up to five times consecutively.

At that point, the Kozhikode-born filmmaker had slipped into clinical depression after the release of his debut feature film, the Tamil-Malayalam bilingual Vaayai Moodi Pesavum, as editor. The film, which was Dulquer Salmaan’s first Tamil release, was a small success in Chennai, but its Malayalam version, Samsaram Arogyathinu Hanikaram, had flopped in Kerala. Suddenly, work offers stopped coming to Nayak as most online reviews blamed the editing for the film’s failure.

“People who used to call me offering work disappeared,” Nayak told Moneycontrol.com. “I cut myself from cinema for almost a year and stopped watching films. I began looking for jobs in the advertising industry. Then my therapist pushed me to just go and check out any film and I randomly picked Nightcrawler.”

An hour into the film, Nayak began laughing at the morbid dark comedy which follows an ambitious and unethical videographer, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, rise up the ranks in journalism, frequently putting others in harm’s way. Nayak fell in love with Nightcrawler and he credits it for reigniting his passion for cinema.