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Kayamkulam Kochunni (2018 film)

Kayamkulam Kochunni is a 2018 Indian Malayalam-language epic period film directed by Rosshan Andrrews and written by Bobby & Sanjay. It is based on the life of Kayamkulam Kochunni, a famed highwayman who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor during the British Raj in the early 19th century Central Travancore. The film stars Nivin Pauly in the title role; Mohanlal makes an extended cameo appearance as highwayman Ithikkara Pakki.

Kayamkulam Kochunni
Kayamkulam Kochunni 2018 film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRosshan Andrrews
Produced byGokulam Gopalan
Written byBobby & Sanjay
StarringNivin Pauly
Mohanlal (Cameo)
Priya Anand
Narrated byMohanlal
Music byGopi Sundar
CinematographyBinod Pradhan
Nirav Shah
Sudheer Palsane
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Sree Gokulam Movies
Distributed byGokulam Movies Release
Release date
  • 11 October 2018 (2018-10-11)
Budget45 crore[1]
Box office100 crore[2]

Principal photography commenced on 30 September 2017 in Udupi, Karnataka and was completed on 1 June 2018. Made on a budget of 45 crore, it is one of the most expensive Malayalam film. It is the 2nd highest grossing Malayalam film of all time. The film was released on 11 October 2018.



The story is about a highway man, Kayamkulam Kochunni who helped poor and low caste men by stealing from the rich.


Additionally, Mohanlal makes an extended cameo appearance in the role of Ithikkara Pakki, a legendary highwayman and Kochunni's mentor. Nora Fatehi has a cameo appearance in the item song "Nrithageethikalennum".



By late August 2016, Rosshan Andrrews confirmed via media outlets that he would be directing a film based on the life of Kerala's heroic outlaw Kayamkulam Kochunni, written by his regular collaborators Bobby & Sanjay and Nivin Pauly playing the title character, to be produced by Gokulam Gopalan. It is the second film based on Kayamkulam Kochunni after the 1966 film of the same name.[3] Kayamkulam Kochunni was a real-life thief who lived in 19th century in the Central Travancore region. He is said to have stole from the rich and gave to the poor like Robin Hood.[4] The screenplay was written after a two-and-a-half year research by an eight-member team. The script was rehashed three times. Kayamkulam Kochunni holds the subtitle "most dangerous man". According to Andrrews, the film would feature Kochunni's life before and after his transition as a thief, his survival attempts, romance, and the social structure during the time. It would also discuss several unanswered questions in his story. Since the appearance of present-day Kayamkulam, Alappuzha district has changed from the time of Kochunni, a Sri Lankan village was to be set as Kayamkulam in the film. Filming was then planned to commence by the beginning of 2017 in Sri Lanka, a few scenes were also planned in Kayamkulam. Andrrews also revealed that they have plans to dub and release the film in Tamil language. P. M. Satheesh was signed as the sound designer. Initially they had talks with Santhosh Narayanan to compose the film's music.[3]

Kayamkulam Kochunni is a period film set in the 1850s and 1860s in what is present-day Kerala.[5] Bobby and Sanjay collected large amount of information beyond what was already known through Kottarathil Sankunni's Aithihyamala and through hearsay. Sanjay said that the film focuses on Kochunni's relationships and friendship. Kochunni was a socialist thief, he fought against "unbelievable cruelty" over the caste system that prevailed during that time.[6] The team went on location scouting in Sri Lanka in June 2017.[7] In August, it was reported that the filming would begin on 10 September.[6] Nivin started learning horse riding and Kalaripayattu in August, he had begun learning the basics earlier in the year.[8] He also gained weight for the role.[5] The script demanded the actors to be trained in Kalaripayattu. Apart from Nivin, actors Babu Antony and Sunny Wayne also underwent training. The training sessions were held at Andrrew's martial arts school in Kochi and went through September 2017.[9] During pre-production, Andrrews created miniatures for every set to be used in the film. In early September, Nivin confirmed that the filming would commence in Udupi in a fortnight.[10]


According to Andrrews, Nivin was their first and only choice for the role of Kochunni.[11] The film traverse through multiple timelines in Kochunni's life. Nivin was selected for the role since Andrrews felt that he has a flexible body language that suits any role, among his generation of actors. According to Sanjay, Nivin's features matches Sankunni's descriptions of Kochunni in Aithihyamala. Andrrews briefed the film's story to Nivin along with the story of another film he plans to follow up after Kayamkulam Kochunni, to both Nivin agreed.[3] In July 2017, a casting call was released for both male and female aged between 5–40.[12] Amala Paul and Priyanka Thimmesh was confirmed before August 2017. Amala's character was said to be an important figure in Kochunni's life; Priyanka plays the role of Suhra, his wife.[6] Babu Antony confirmed his role in September 2017 as Ithingal Thangal, the mentor of Kochunni.[13]

In late 2017, Amala opted out from the film due to scheduling conflicts, who was replaced by Priya Anand. Andrrews said the rain effected their schedule and had to make changes, which conflicted with Amala's dates who had commitments in Tamil films. Priya cancelled three films for Kayamkulam Kochunni; she plays Janaki. According to Priya, Janaki's story is relevant to every woman.[14] Priya's voice was dubbed by Raveena Ravi.[citation needed] Wayne plays the character named Keshavan, who is well trained in Kalaripayattu.[8] In early January 2018, Nivin and Andrrews announced that Mohanlal would appear in the film in the role of Ithikkara Pakki,[15] a robber contemporary to Kochunni.[16] In a February 2018 interview, Sanjay revealed that Mohanlal has 40 minutes screen time who appears at a particular juncture in the story, "we wished for someone of his stature to play this character. Pakki is Kochunni's contemporary and predecessor. It's Pakki who started the unique style of robbing and that’s what Kochunni continued with".[17] In March 2018, Nora Fatehi was confirmed to be appearing in a song sequence in the film, which also features Nivin. Choreographed by Vishnu Deva, it was shot in Goa in that month.[18]


Principal photography commenced on 30 September 2017 in Udupi, Karnataka.[19][20] In the first schedule the team filmed in locations such as Mangalore, Manjeshwar, and Udupi for two months. It was reported that the filming would move to Sri Lanka for the following schedule. Nivin trained in Kalaripayattu every morning before shoot under trainers from Kerala. He had a shot crop haircut and wears a handlebar moustache for the character of Kochunni.[21] Filming was held in Kasaragod and Mangalore during November and December 2017.[22] Large sets were created for the film. Binod Pradhan was the cinematographer.[5] Mohanlal joined the sets in Mangalore on 13 February 2018 and began filming from the following day with the combination scenes between Ithikkara Pakki and Kochunni.[23] The 161 days long filming was wrapped in Sri Lanka on 1 June 2018.[24][25]

Three cinematographers worked in Kayamkulam KochunniBinod Pradhan, Nirav Shah, and Sudheer Palsane. Pradhan worked for 110 days after which the filming was delayed due to Nivin's injury and other reasons and Pradhan had to join Kalank due to prior commitment. Shah was the cinematographer for the next 40 days, who shot the climax and scenes in Goa. Palsane joined for the remaining 11 days for filming the scenes in Sri Lanka. Film's colour grading was done by Red Chillies Entertainment.[26] Kayamkulam Kochunni was made on a budget of 45 crore, making it the most expensive Malayalam film made to date.[1][27]


The original soundtrack of the film was composed by Gopi Sundar and released by Eros Now.[28] The lyrics for the songs were written by Shobin Kannangatt and Rafeeq Ahamed.

Track listing
1."Kalariyadavum"Shobin KannangattVijay Yesudas, Shreya Ghoshal5:10
2."Thjanajana Naadam"Rafeeq AhamedGopi Sundar3:22
3."Nrithageethikalennum"Shobin KannangattPushpavathy Poypadathu3:59


Kayamkulam Kochunni was initially set to release on 15 August 2018, but was postponed for about a week due to delays in completing the post-production.[29] Release was postponed again due to the August 2018 Kerala floods and was rescheduled and released on 11 October 2018.[30]

Box office

Kayamkulam Kochunni was released in more than 350 screens in Kerala and screened 1700 shows in the first day, making it the largest movie release in the state. The film grossed 5.30 crore in the opening day from Kerala alone, the highest opening-day collection at Kerala box office.[31] It grossed 100 crore from worldwide box office. It is only the second film in the history of Malayalam cinema to do so after Pulimurugan .[32]


  1. ^ a b George, Vijay (9 August 2018). "Thinking big". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  2. ^ Nivin Pauly’s Kayamkulam Kochunni makes it to Rs 100 crore club | Kayamkulam Kochunni 100 crore. (30 November 2018). Retrieved on 24 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b c നായർ, അനീഷ് (26 August 2016). "നിവിൻ ഇനി കായംകുളം കൊച്ചുണ്ണി". Malayala Manorama (in Malayalam). Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  4. ^ Kuttoor, Radhakrishnan (18 December 2015). "Legendary thief now a deity at Kerala temple". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
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  8. ^ a b Sidhardhan, Sanjith (23 August 2017). "Nivin Pauly to train in horse riding for Kayamkulam Kochunni". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
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  10. ^ Sidhardhan, Sanjith (6 September 2017). "Nivin Pauly reveals how Kayamkulam Kochunni team is gearing up for the biggest movie in his career". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  11. ^ Ramachandran, Mythily (9 October 2018). "Nivin Pauly's 'Kayamkulam Kochunni' a time travel to the 1830s". Gulf News. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  12. ^ Pauly, Nivin (27 July 2017). "Casting Call". Facebook. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  13. ^ Soman, Deepa (18 September 2017). "Babu Antony plays Thangal in 'Kayamkulam Kochunni'... Who is he?". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  14. ^ Soman, Deepa (7 December 2017). "I cancelled three of my projects to be part of Kayamkulam Kochunni: Priya Anand". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
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  22. ^ "Photos: Nivin Pauly thanks Suriya, Jyothika for visiting the sets of his Kayamkulam Kochunni". The Indian Express. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Mohanlal starts shooting for 'Kayamkulam Kochunni'". Mathrubhumi. 14 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Nivin completes 'Kayamkulam Kochunni'". Sify. 2 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  25. ^ Kumar R., Manoj (2 June 2018). "Nivin Pauly wraps up Kayamkulam Kochunni". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  26. ^ മനോരമ ലേഖകൻ (24 July 2018). "കായംകുളം കൊച്ചുണ്ണിയുടെ പിന്നണിയിൽ ഷാരൂഖ് ഖാന്റെ റെ‍ഡ് ചില്ലീസും". Malayala Manorama. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  27. ^ Pillai, Sreedhar (12 August 2018). "From Kayamkulam Kochunni to Oru Kuttanadan Blog, a look at Malayalam films releasing this Onam". Firstpost. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Kayamkulam Kochunni". Saavn. 3 August 2018. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  29. ^ R., Manoj Kumar (13 August 2018). "Nivin Pauly-Mohanlal's Kayamkulam Kochunni unlikely to release this week". The Indian Express. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
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