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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Days with YODHA film crew at Kathmandu

---Pilathottathil Bhaskaran
Occupation: Pvt. Service – Working with Dabur

Before coming to Kathmandu (Nepal) in the year 1986, I had been working and studying at Kolkata since May 1975. Since June 1987 I have been living in Kathmandu with family.

May 1992 – Yodha cinema shooting in Kathmandu-- at Pashupati & Swayambhu areas.  

Though I used to see most of the new releases during my child days (thanks to the New Harihar Talkes Taliparamba, Kannur district, near my house – just two minutes walk), the news of a Malayalam film and that also Mohanlal taking the leading role – shooting in Kathmandu, was exciting.  Kathmandu being a small place, one can reach any corner within half an hour and Pashupati area was just a walking distance from where we used to reside at that time.  One weekly off of May, 1992, we, my family along with other Malayali family friends visited Pashupati area to see the shooting. We enjoyed ourselves the whole day seeing Mohanlal and the little Master Siddhartha  shooting on the other bank of the Bagmati at Pashupatinath.

That was my first experience of watching a film shooting.  Though it was really boring, it was also exciting to see the acting of our known heroes and also to see how the cinema grows before it reaches the screen,  It was thrilling to see Mohanlal, Jagati, Puneet Issar, Madhoo, the famous cinematographer, Santosh Sivan, Director Sangeeth Sivan in action and also the script writer Sasidharan Aratuvazhi.

The most striking aspect of Mohanlal’s personality is his humanitarian attitude towards all around him, either Director, Camera man, fellow actor/actress, light boy etc.  One can see that he would even say sorry or wipe the dust off the costume of a fellow actor when he hits or slaps him during stunt  sequences.

We have seen him eating and drinking along with any other staff/actors/helpers/peon/light boys etc., laughing and mixing without any discrimination.

When I was taking photos of him with all my friends and families  one by one, he noticed that I was left out in all the photos, he insisted somebody to take the camera from me and told me to come beside for a photograph.  I was really touched by his concern even for a small thing.

During my conversation with him, I casually mentioned that I would be leaving for Kerala immediately to see my ailing father and am un-happy that I may not be able to see him live in action further, as by the time I come back, they must have left Kathmandu.  After so many years, in one of my visits to Kerala, my cousin brother, who was involved for a while with the film “Vadakkumnathan”,  mentioned to Mohanlal at Taliparamba that I had met him at Kathmandu and that he was my cousin.  At once, so surprisingly, Mohanlal remembered how I had left for Kerala to see my ailing father!! See how he remembers his fans even after so many years.

On one occasion during YODHA(the film was initially titled BUDDHA) shooting, I visited hotel Rara, Jyata, Kantipath (Kathmandu) with my friend Janardhanan, where many of the artists were staying, including the actress Madhoo and Jagathi. We met many artists and Mr. Sasidharan Aratuvazhi, who has written screenplay of the film. I was so impressed by him, such a pleasing personality who could go eloquent on any topic under the sun. I requested him to accompany us to a restaurant if he could spare some time. He readily agreed and we took him at Nanglo Chinese Restaurant at Durbar Marg, which was a topmost restaurant at that time serving 5 star foods in affordable price.  We started with beer and Nepali special Momo and some other dishes and we went on talking about cinema, people around and back ground of cinema and so on.  It was a very cordial and knowledgeable discussion and we took him around 2 hours.  I was so happy about his knowledge and frankness to speak out anything he deems perfect to talk.

When it came to foot the bill, he snatched it from the waiter to pay by himself.  When I asked him to give the bill as he is our guest and it is our duty to pay the bill and he came to the restaurant on our invitation, he said that he never had a discussions like the one he had with us and he was quite happy to pay the bill for the memorable time we gave him. He took out the money from his pocket which was not sufficient (the bill was little higher than expected).  Once again I stopped him and requested him but he was adamant and searched his other pockets and hand folder, found the money and paid the bill. I never expected this type of courtesy from a film personality like him.  We dropped him at the hotel and left for our home.  That meeting with Mr. Sasidharan Aratuvazhi is still afresh in my mind.

I came to know from my friend Mr. Santhosh Kumar Kana that Mr. Sasidharan Aratuvazhi is no more. May his soul rest in peace.  

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