Ace director Vinayan's latest flick based on the life and death of late south Indian actor Kalabhavan Mani will be in the theatres soon. The much-awaited movie 'Chalakkudikkaran Changathi', which deals with some extremely sensitive topics on him, has debutant hero Rajamani, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Ramesh Pisharody and Honey Rose in significant roles.
Honey Rose performs a character called Kavitha, a busy south Indian actress who rejects a movie with Kalabhavan Mani. The real character had reportedly cited Mani's dark complexion as the reason for her rejection. Though Mani himself revealed this incident to people close to him, there hadn't been any official confirmation to this news till date. However, director Vinayan who traced the life and struggles of Mani to reproduce the latter's life on silver screen, almost confirms this incident by including it as a significant scene in his upcoming movie which will release on September 28.
In an exclusive interview with Onmanorama, Vinayan averred that Mani had to face several setbacks in his life owing to his dark complexion.
“This particular scene in my movie shows a meeting between Rajamani (the protagonist) and Kavitha (Honey Rose.) Kavitha is a busy actor in Telugu and Mani, already a superstar. The scene takes place long after Kavitha rejected the character of Mani's heroine in a Malayalam movie. Mani is shown consuming alcohol on the roof-top of a five-star hotel in Hyderabad when Kavitha comes to meet him. Though the actress refused to be his heroine, kind-hearted Mani had referred her name to acclaimed Telugu directors, which helped her to become a superstar in Tollywood. Still, somewhere deep in Mani's heart, there lies a scar left by Kavitha's refusal to be his heroine and her reason for it,” Vinayan remembered.
As the two artistes are alone in the balcony, Mani's character asks Kavitha the question he had kept for her for almost a decade: "Did you really refuse to be my heroine because of my complexion?"
Ambience and mood
The scene was shot on the balcony of a five-star hotel in Kochi. The director said cameraman Prakash Kutty chose natural dim light so that it would reflect from the pool to grace the scene being shot.
“Kutty is specific about the kind of lights he uses for a scene. He doesn't use glamour and floodlights for all scenes. He looks at the components of a frame first and then chooses light. This scene has water in the background. Predominant colours are blue and black. So he chose appropriate lighting to make the best use of natural reflection,” Vinayan explained.
Vinayan added that the scene was deliberately set at night to attract the entire attention of audience to the actors and their conversation. “This is a crucial scene. It is enhanced by the gentle, non-explosive acting skills of Rajamani and Honey,” he explained.
The real controversy
Actor Mani had overcome several odds to build a successful career in mimicry and cinema. The grave poverty he faced in his childhood and instances of caste discrimination he encountered all through played a vital role in shaping Mani's personality. The artiste could later enjoy his life with all the luxuries he could, when he became a superstar. Yet, he was hurt by the discrimination he had faced.
In his movie, Vinayan portrays Mani's character with all his strengths and weaknesses. When a popular actress from the Malayalam film industry refused to be his heroine for his colour, Mani gets deeply hurt and depressed.
“You may find Honey Rose's character similar to one or more actresses you know. At one point, you might feel Kavitha is Aishwarya Rai herself in the Rajinikant movie 'Enthiran'.
'Chalakkudikkaran Changathi' already has a rich cast, including almost 40 popular mimicry artistes and film actors. So I inculcated more than one character into one actor so that the story-line gets compact. The movie portrays real incidents that happened in Mani's life, with some elements of fiction as it approaches the end,” Vinayan said.