Sometimes, true heroes walk among us
During the deadly outbreak of Nipah in Kerala, Kozhikode district collector U V Jose stood strong day and night with the whole community to offer help and to wash away the fears from the public. Tovino Thomas who acted the role of U V Jose in the Virus movie came to visit the real life collector. Tovino was a real hero during the times of flood that hit Kerala as he took part in rescuing people and helping those in need. So, the meeting of these real life heroes was a true wonder.
U V Jose who was the district collector of Kozhikode during the Nipah outbreak is now the chief executive officer of life mission. Tovino Thomas acted the role of U V Jose as Paul V Abraham in Virus where the story is about the Nipah outbreak in Kerala. Tovino was excited to meet the real character he acted on the screen which helped him gain lot of applause and attention.
“Before the movie was shot, I watched many videos of U V Jose Sir. Director Aashiq Abu insisted me not to meet the real person because an actor always have a tendency to imitate the person. But I wanted to meet Jose Sir after the release of the movie. When I was coming back after the inauguration of a program conducted by Mathrubhumi Club FM in St. Michael's Girls Higher Secondary School in Kozhikode, Mathrubhumi PRO KR Pramod sir asked me whether I have met Jose sir or not. As I replied no and said I wished to click a picture together, Pramod sir connected me to Jose sir. That phone conversation led to this meeting” – Tovino started speaking.
Jose: I was shocked after knowing that such a well–known, people’s favourite actor Tovino Thomas is doing the character similar to my real life character. I felt happier later. Because during the flood ravaged times in Kerala through media we all witnessed Tovino’s act to help people out of the disaster. There is happiness in knowing that a person with social commitments is doing this role. It was a great experience in watching the movie Virus from theatre. Tovino acted so well as a collector.
Tovino: Director Aashiq Abu told me not to see this character as a usual collector who only does office work. That is the reason why you can see me in scenes where I don’t insert shirt, wear slippers and ‘mundu’ (Kerala traditional wear). I was asked to think of a collector who behaves close to the common people without making them panic during the Nipah outbreak. Everyone told that Jose sir stood for the people of Kozhikode as he belongs here. His introspection was keen right?
Jose: People say that the situation would have become even worst if Nipah was not reported first in Kozhikode. People of Kozhikode are known to repose trust and love during disasters.
Tovino: In Ernakulam there are people from different parts of the country, whereas in Kozhikode most of them belong to the place itself and they all know each other. When I visit Kozhikode for shoots, friends from there compete to treat me with food. That is like a custom to Kozhikode natives. I think, people from Malabar region show a special kind of love towards artists.
Jose: People from Kozhikode easily react. You said before that people from Kozhikode love artists more but just ask collectors if they would love to work more in Kozhikode
Tovino: While hearing the word collector, what comes to my mind is the character called Joseph Alex, mesmerizingly acted by Mammookka in the movie ‘The King’. It’s hard for actors like us to think away from such talents. But in the movie Virus, the director tried to think of a collector through a different angle. I acted as he said. I think in real life, the collector is a connection between bureaucrats and common people.
Jose: Yes. It is like that. During floods, the situation was not very worst. When the situation in Kottayam and Alappuzha was in danger, Kozhikode was in safe zone. But before that Nipah tested Kozhikode. During that time, people of Kozhikode didn’t move around. But during floods, people of Kozhikode came out to show their love to others.
We contacted the collector of Kottayam and donated some necessities. A Facebook post was kept for things needed and the response for that post surprised me. Parison’s company donated 2 tons of wheat powder as we were only expecting 2 sacks. This was the approach of people of Kozhikode. During flood, Tovino really supported right?
Tovino: Flood started in Chengannur on 14 and 15. On 14, I was in Kozhikode. As a friend informed I went there to visit a child suffering from heart disease. She loved my movies and wished to see me.
It was raining heavily. When I heard about the floods, I thought nothing serious. People were then uploading videos in Tik Tok about people jumping and swimming in overflowing waters.
My family was with me in Kozhikode. The meeting was decided to be from doctor’s house but later it was changed to a hotel as their house was flooded. They said it was the first time. From then I started understanding the seriousness of the issue. While going back home I noticed that many bridges we passed through were almost under water.
My native is Irinjalakuda. When you say I did something, you should understand that almost 90% of the people there, did that too. With me my elder brother, his 2 friends and their younger brothers were also there. During that time, almost every people from Irinjalakuda helped each other. I got noticed because of my acting career.
Rains didn’t stop even after 2 days. When in other places water level decreased, in Irinjalakuda it started increasing. My mother, wife and child was at home but they were not aware about the seriousness of the issue. If rains continued for 3 more days, our house would also have been flooded. In that case we can’t leave our native place right? I too stood together as everyone did.
Jose is interestingly listening to Tovino. Between their conversation, Jose taps Tovino’s shoulders in appreciation. We say, for artist’s social responsibility is must. Tovino proves it is true. Tovino shows much respect to Jose Sir’s words.
(Translated by Arunima N Shaju)