Consequences of a 'yes'; Suraj Venjaramoodu recalls funny moment during shooting
I remember a funny incident that happened during a shooting in Alappuzha. Shooting was progressing at a big house with AC rooms and spacious hall. I wore costumes and makeup for my character and was sitting in a room. There was also another actor whom everyone respectfully called 'Achayan'. He was only getting ready.
While changing costumes, an assistant boy of the costume designer brought a pair of brand new footwear for Achayan. He tried on the footwear and asked the boy: "Is there one more pair of these footwear?"
"What? What do we do if this pair is damaged? You should keep at least two pairs of footwear for an artiste like me. Where is your master? Call him..."
The costume designer appeared before the actor and stood politely. Achayan asked him: "Is there another pair of footwear for me?"
"Your assistant told me no."
"He might not have been aware of it. We have another pair for you. I bought it myself."
As soon as Achayan went out, the costume designer scolded his assistant boy: "What did you say? You shouldn't say 'no' if artistes ask you something."
"Sir, I told him the truth, no?"
"That's true. But be careful while telling the truth here. This is a small budget movie. The producer won't let us buy two pairs of footwear for an artiste. Please don't make me lose my job. Say 'yes' to whatever the artistes ask you. Got it?"
"Yeah, I got it."
Both the master and assistant did not pay any attention to me as they might have thought that I won't be a trouble for them. I was just flipping through the pages of a weekly.
The director gave us lunch break by 2 in the afternoon. All went to have food. When the shooting was about to restart, Achayan came back to the makeup room for a touch up. I also entered the room. The costume designer's assistant was ironing clothes on a table in the room. Achayan watched him closely and asked him, "Hey, come here"
The boy stopped ironing clothes and went near the actor. Achayan observed him keenly and asked, "Are you mad?"
"Anyone else in your family mad?"
"Yes sir... My father, mother and all are mad."
Achayan was shocked to hear him and jumped from his seat. "Where's your master? Go get him fast..." he shouted. The boy came back with the costumer designer.
"What happened sir?" the costume designer asked Achayan.
"Why did you employ this mad boy?"
"Sir, he is not mad."
"But he said he is mad and all of his family also are mad."
"He's only a boy, sir. He might have joked. I'll ask him."
The costume designer called the boy and asked him, "What did you say? Did you tell him you are mad?"
"Yes, I said. You told me to say 'yes' to whatever artistes asked, didn't you? So I said 'yes' when he asked me if I am mad," he assistant replied.
The costume designer stood speechless hearing his words. But Achayan was in no mood to leave the issue. "So, both of you played well to fool me... This is not right.."
Things went out of control and people gathered on hearing the shouting. Achayan wanted to get the costume designer fired at once. The producer and director came to the scene and somehow calmed down the actor. Nobody was fired and the shooting continued.
I was there as a mute spectator. After sometime, I went to the costume designer and asked him secretly: "Who among the three of you is mad actually?"
"Suraj, all humans are mad slightly. That's why some people talk to themselves. Some sing songs to themselves. And one should be a little mad to survive amidst people like you..." he replied.
For me, that was a new piece of information. Everyone does their job. They may commit mistakes. But they cannot think that they are perfect and blame others for their mistakes.
(An excerpt from the book 'Chirimayam' written by actor Suraj Venjaramoodu)