‘Chirichum Chirippichum’ is a collection of memories of a young man named Sudheer Kumar, better known by his stage name Maniyanpilla Raju. The book unfolds how this young man transformed as the known actor and producer in Malayalam film industry. Here is an excerpt from the book that portray a period of Malayalam film industry.
A memorable incident happened during the shooting of ‘Kadathanadan Ambadi’, a 1990 film directed by Priyadarshan. Priyan, (here Priyadarshan) bought a green shaded Fiat car then. Priyan is an absent minded person. He forgets Rs 25,000 in his pants pocket and gives it to laundry man. When vacating a room, he forgets his wallet and money in the drawer. Same is the case while driving. He drives in any gear. If stopped, he forgets to take the key and when restarting the car, he starts with the same gear in which he turned off the engine. So much is his inattention.
However, his sharp memory would record the movies that he saw when he was studying in fifth standard. Dialogues in its continuity, according to the role play, scenes and the costumes of each character would be saved in his hard disc like mind. His mind is full of jokes and the related incidents that happened during our schooling time. That’s why Priyan could present Mohanlal in his best.
While acting in some scenes, Priyan would ask me to enact the incidents that happened during school time. ‘Don’t you remember the joke you said while we were in school, about a lacing of underwear that hung downward when the PT sir arrived?’ Try something of that sort…’ That sharp is his memory. He shares early memories to Mohanlal one by one. Priyan is the one who exploited Mohanlal to his maximum as an actor.
Let’s return to the green Fiat car. We were, then staying in Hotel Raiban, Alappuzha. When we were about to leave to Raiban from Udaya studio, Priyan said, ‘there are four kilo meters from here to hotel. If you lie in the dicky of the car, I will give you Rs 100.’
I wouldn’t do that, because I have a fear of darkness and cramped rooms. I’m not afraid to board in a flight. But, I can’t take an elevator, because I feel discomfort. While travelling up and down in an elevator, if power supply fails and get stuck in the middle, I panic. I start sweating, feely giddy and finally blackout. It happens even if there are company or beautiful ladies in the elevator.
One day Prithviraj Sukumaran shared an elevator experience; ‘Once when I entered an elevator in Kottayam, electricity failed. I stood for a while and finally sat on the elevator floor. It was opened after two hours.’ When Prithviraj finished explaining, I placed my hand on chest in admiration. If I were him in the elevator, I would have died there itself. But, I have no worry now. Even if the power fails, the elevator will open on next floor.
‘I wouldn’t take up that challenge even If he had promised to give Rs 1 lakh to me instead of hundred.’ However, Mohanlal said that he would accept the challenge. Further, he got into the dicky of car and Priyan closed the trunk and started driving to the Hotel Raiban. On the way, there was a KSEB transformer located in a curve on the road separated with barbed wire fencing. The car hit the fencing as Priyan turned the wheels according to the curve. There were sparks when car hit the fencing and power outage was all over Alappuzha.
Priyan in panic, drove the car to the hotel. We reached there and stopped the car. Suddenly we remembered about the challenge and Mohanlal who was locked inside the boot of the car. Hotel security personnel arrived and I said to him to take what is in the dicky to room number 103. As he opened the dicky, Mohanlal jumped out of it with a cry. The security person was aghast and fainted. The shape of Mohanlal was an unmissable view. Travelling four kilometers distance in a boot of a car, and an accident in between. It wasn’t for just a Hundred rupees, moreover the happiness derived from accepting a challenge and doing adventure.