(Ranjit Nair blogs at Occupied Space)
Since ‘Rowdram’ and ‘Sound of Boot’ have just been released, I thought it would be apt to run through what would typically runs through the minds of the likes of Renji Panicker and Shaji Kailas when planning a new movie.
The Hero: Suresh Gopi, Mammootty or Mohanlal. If its either of the first two, they can be educated from some fancy-sounding school outside Kerala (and mouth epithets like shit, crap, bullshit, damn etc in every couple of sentences), and also be the son or grandson of some retired honorable politician whose roaring days are over, thanks to backstabbing partners (who the hero can abuse during a later scene). If its Mohanlal, he’s probably an orphan who migrated to an outside state/country when his parents were killed, and picked up classical music along the way. And yeah, a music composer needs to be hired as well – fit in a classical or semi-classical song somewhere. Otherwise, ominous-sounding background music would do (what are Enigma CDs etc for?).
The Heroine: Optional, only for eye-candy. Should be pretty, knowledge of English preferable (since there’s only one female dubbing artiste in Kerala, who’s knowledge of English would rival that of a kindergarten kid). Make her an honest government servant, like an policewoman, or a collector or sub-collector. Should be tough, but marshmallow in the hero’s hands once he’s called her a ‘bitch’ or something else equally derogatory.
Crony of Hero Who Dies Just Before Climax: Biju Menon, Tony or one of the new young blokes whose debut films have flopped. An orphan who the hero accosted in his childhood and brought home. Faithful companion, insert scene where crony cries and remembers his gratitude to hero.
The Betrayer: Pretty much the same as the crony, except the betrayer is money-minded (insert scene where the hero affectionately chides him for being so darned money-minded). To add insult to injury, this character has to suffer through the verbal diarrhea of the hero (insert couple of Sanskrit shlokas if Mohanlal, hire Sanskrit professor for 2 days of shooting) before being killed.
Hero’s Father: Either a garlanded photograph on the wall, in which case an affectionate mom is mandatory, or some veteran actor like Madhu or Janarddanan who makes all the appropriate noises.
Hero’s Mother: Mandatory only in certain cases, as outlined above. Pretty much delegated to serving food, and to the puja room. Probably fit in a scene where she worries about her son, and the dad consoles her saying that their son is a man (as opposed to Dileep).
Poor Man / Woman Who Hero Helps: Usually, an out of work actor suitably disheveled. The character would be a victim of some tragedy, waiting for justice tearfully after being abused by the system and/or corrupt politicians and policemen. Enter the hero, who then delivers a lecture on how Gandhi said that the heart of India is with the poor etc, and promptly delivers justice.
Object of Abuse: There’s hardly any other way to describe the likes of Kollam Thulasi, Rajan P Dev, Devan, Shammi Thilakan etc – placed in the movie solely to provide the hero an opportunity to mouth off. These would usually be corrupt politicians / police officers. Typical verbal attacks include being called a pimp, being accused of being the hero’s father’s barber (or some such) who then proved ungrateful, and at the end (or just before interval) being asked to do a countdown, or insert an external object into a hidden body part.
The Villain: Sai Kumar or Siddhique, who seem to be our only charismatic actors around apart from the 2 Ms. They have nothing much to do except drink malt whiskey, slip in an oblique reference to Karunakaran/Antony, and then summon up suitably indignant expressions as the hero indulges in verbal diarrhea yet again.
That’s it, that’s the formula. And hey presto, you have the latest Mohanlal / Mammootty / Suresh Gopi blockbuster ready to hit the theatres!!