‘2018’ is emerging as one of the biggest blockbusters in 2023 from Malayalam cinema, and it is bringing the audience back to the theatres. Starring Tovino Thomas, Asif Ali, Kunchacko Boban, Aparna Balamurali, Kalaiyarasan, Vineeth Sreenivasan, and Lal, among others, ‘2018’ has minted over 40 crores at the worldwide box office and continues its rampage.
In an exclusive conversation with ETimes, Tovino Thomas speaks about the making of ‘2018’, the hard work, the challenges, and the reason behind the film’s success.
- ‘2018’ is receiving a heartwarming response. The box office collections are also impressive. What do you think has worked in favour of this success? Is it because it’s a story of how Keralites united to overcome the 2018 floods, or because it’s told in a compelling manner?
The first thing that crossed my mind when Jude (Anthany Joseph) told me that he wanted to narrate a script about the Kerala floods was how he was going to consolidate the hundreds of stories into a movie. I was sceptical. But he wrote the script in the most compelling way possible. I believe the screenplay, coupled with the hard work we put in to execute it, is what worked. because emotions alone cannot make it happen. People outside our home state are impressed by ‘2018’. So, it’s not just because we faced the flood. The unity of the people, compassion, and love are what’s working.
- You are one of the many who have been on the ground during the floods to help those in need. And now that you get to play this hero, how does it feel?
During the floods, I met a lot of people who were similar to my character in the movie. I believe my contribution during the 2018 Kerala floods made headlines just because I was an actor. Yes, I helped to the best of my ability. But I know people who have done 100 times more than I did. This movie is a tribute to all who were out there saving lives and helping each other: the thousands who were in the water rescuing people, supporting the relief camps, the fishermen, the police, the navy, the military, the government, and many more.
- Filming ‘2018’ wouldn’t have been a cakewalk at all. What was the biggest challenge you faced?
The airlifting and the underwater scenes were the most challenging. The airlifting portion was shot at night, in the rain. There were giant propellers suspended from the sky, and it is very tough to stand under them. We artists used to scream to turn down the propeller immediately once the shot was done because you were in the water, drenched, the wind was blowing, and it was not at all easy.
The underwater scenes were tough, too. I had a severe ear infection, and the doctor advised me to stay away from water and prescribed some painkillers and antibiotics. However, we were not in a situation to halt the shoot, so I shot it anyway by keeping painkillers handy and later took the antibiotics. Despite all the hardships, I believe it was really worth it. We created this movie together!
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