A Blog on Cinema

Interview: Sibi K. Thomas, Uday Krishna – Part 1


Sibi K. Thomas and Uday Krishna need no introduction to Malayalam Film Viewers. The script writer duo who have been in the industry for almost 16 years have been behind box office hits like C.I.D.Moosa, Kochi Rajavu, Vettam, Lion, Runway, Kilukkam Kilukilukkam , Thuruppugulan, and most recently Chess. The editors of talked to both of them about how they entered the film industry, their current work, their general opinion about Malayalam film industry and future work.

We approached the interview as ordinary viewers who love movies. Siby and Uday were very cordial and went beyond answering our questions and offered frank and honest insights into the workings of the Malayalam film industry. The interview is lengthy and will be published in parts over the next three days. Please let us know what you think of our questions and the interview in general. How did you enter the film industry?

Sibi K. Thomas: I started as the assistant director to Balu Kiriyath. Both Uday krishna and me came to the field to learn direction. Kauthukam was the first film I worked, it never got released. Sandhya Mohan was the Associate Director of that film. Since we got a connection to Sandhya Mohan we got work in his film. After that we worked on lot of films with Balu Kiriyath.

Uday Krishna: I started as an assistant to A.R Mukesh, a script writer. At that time we were look for an entry point into films and whatever was possible for it, we were willing to do. A.R. Mukesh wrote Ponnuchami, which was Ali Akbar’s first film. I was the Asst. Director for that movie.

Kaloor Dennis was the script writer for most of the films we were working. With Kaloor Dennis’s recommendation, I worked on various movies with Baiju Kottarakkara and K. Madhu. In Balu Kiriyath’s film we joined as asst directors and synced up. We worked with Balu Kiriyath and Sandhya Mohan as assistant directors in lot of films. While doing this, we both wanted to direct movies together. Manoj K. Jayan also told us that we should be like Siddique-Lal.

Once when Sandhya Mohan was making a movie, he wanted us to write the screenplay. We were very excited and that movie was Hitler Brothers. At that time the superstars would not give us dates since we were new and so Prem Kumar became the hero of that movie. Hitler Brothers became a success and was a turning point in our lives. After that many directors noticed us and we started getting offers. You said you were not able to work with superstars initially, but now you have worked with Mohanlal in Kilukkam Kilukilukkam and Mammotty in Thuruppugulan…

UK/SKT: Soon after our first success, Balu Kiriyath, our guru, offered his next movie to us and we were excited.The movie was Mayajalam and the hero was Mukesh. At the same time we also got Sandhya Mohan’s Amma Ammayiyamma. The shooting of both the movies happened at the same time in two different locations. Udayan was in one set and I was in the other.

After seeing Hitler Brothers, Jose Thomas approached us to do a comedy movie, since he had never done one before. His hero was Dileep. We were skeptical if Dileep would agree to a movie written by us. We narrated the story to Dileep and he liked it. Dileep was busy at that time and he asked for time. Even though Jose Thomas called us for this Dileep movie, the first movie we worked together was Mattupetti Machan with Mukesh as the hero and it was a success. After that we did Meenakshi Kalyanam, and Peridatha Chithram, with Jose Thomas.

Peridatha Chithram has an interesting story behind it. When the movie was released, it did not have a name. So we called it Peridatha Chithram. We held a competition in which we asked people to name the movie. Tokyo Nagarile Viseshangal was the most suggested name. Two weeks later, we re-censored the movie and released it with the new name.

Then we worked on this movie which was planned with Dileep called Udayapuram Sultan. At that time Dileep was a hero whom people liked to see. This movie was also a landmark for us and we were able to to do two more Dileep movies after that. Rajasenan was making hit films with Jayaram at that time and we worked with him in a film called Darling Darling. It was originally planned with Dileep and Kunchako Boban. At that time Kunchako Boban had good market and better renumeration than Dileep. Kunchako withdrew and in his place Vineeth came in.

Even though Kunchako withdrew from our previous film we wanted to get them together somehow and it happened in Dosth. In that movie Dileep had a rough character which was different from his previous ones. There was no humor for Dileep in that movie. Then we worked with Jayaram and director Haridas (of Indraprastham) in a movie called Magic Lamp and it was never released. Even before computer graphics became common, this movie had lot of special effects. Then we did Malayali Mamanu Vanakkam with Rajasenan. This movie had a mix of Tamil culture as well and had Roja and Prabhu. Kalabhavan Mani acted as a Tamilian in this movie which was released in Tamil Nadu also. We then did two movies with Suresh Gopi also. Both of you have played an important role in creating the present image of Dileep. You have benefited because of the association with Dileep and he has benefited from your skills as well. What kind of relation do you have?

We all started around the same time in the industry. Like us Dileep was an assistant director. We have always tried to give him manly characters who have lot of power in movies like CID Moosa, Lion, Runway and the most recent one is Chess. In our first movie itself Dileep liked our style of writing. Somehow we had a good sync of ideas and he has faith in us. So far we have done nine movies with him. Udayapuram Sultan, Darling Darling, Dosth, CID Moosa, Kochi Rajavu, Vettam, Lion, Runway, Chess. All these movies have done well in the box office.

You need to have a good understanding with the actors. When we worked with Mammukka (Mammotty), there was a good understanding. Our ideas used to sync with his Most of your movies are comedy movies. They start as comedy and later become serious. Chess is different in the sense that it is a revenge movie. What was your inspiration for Chess.

SKT/UK: Viewers love comedy. Even if the topic is serious or even if it is action, if there is humor touch, it becomes more attractive, else it can become dry. But that does not mean that you can stuff humor into a movie, it has to be appropriate to the story as well.

Chess is a revenge movie. Still it has been made very pleasant. Even when someone is shot in the movie, the viewer is not shocked, but relaxed. Lot of movie stories are common across the industry, but the way an actor does a role makes it unique and brings in variety. We know what type characters Dileep had done and wanted to do something different. Dileep had not done a revenge story and we were looking at various options for it. Also it has been a while since we had a revenge story in Malayalam. When an old theme is repeated after a long time, people will accept it.

to be continued… 


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  5. I am the BIGGEST fan of Dileep
    And I proudly say Udayakrishna sibi k Thomas was The ONE AND ONLY writer in the world

  6. Udayan and Sibi duo are single handedly responsible for taking Malayalam cinema to the gutter in the name of “family entertainers”

    If they are the best writers for you in the whole world, you live in a sorry world.

  7. This interview has been very revealing to me. I have been wondering for a long time, why Malayalam films are so bad, even more so lately. The film making process in Malayalam films is so archaic and primitive – and that is the reason for such poor movies being pumped out. Cheap slap-stick comedies, candy-floss song/dance and unwanted violence that have not connection with the storylne are so common, in malayalam films that it is ridiculous that any of the film making elements would ever want to be part of the project.

    I can’t believe that movies are written for actors to act, as opposed to movies that are written for audiences to watch. That is why we find all malayalam films with the same actors doing the same old things repeatedly. Rarely do they act, but be themselves.

    Unless we start driving our script writing with the story telling and character development as the premise, we are going to go round and round into the pit. It is unfortunate that the script writers are driven by the actors. Unfortunately it is a vicious circle that each film making element points the blame at the other. None of them have the courage to step out of it, and salvage the industry. It is such a shame, really.

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