How 'New Delhi' re-scripted Mammootty's career

Gayathri Ashok (C) and Mammootty in the movie 'New Delhi'

Revelations from veteran poster designer and screenwriter Gayathri Ashok will come as a shocker to Malayalam movie buffs! In an interview given to a Malayalam TV channel, Ashok cast light on hitherto unheard dark days in the career of megastar Mammootty.

Like everyone, Mammootty also had a humble start with a fair share of ups and downs. But only those close to him know about the darkest moments in his career when even a versatile actor like Mammootty felt out of place in Mollywood.

According to Ashok, who has seen this phase of Mammootty from close quarters, when good films like Aayiram Kannukal, Nyayavidhi, Sayam Sandhya, Veendum, and Kathakku Pinnil failed at the box office in succession it pushed Mammootty into a dire situation.

On one occasion, Mammootty walked into the hotel room where Ashok was staying and started mumbling that he is out of the field. “Seeing his state, I asked him 'not to give out details about the flops himself.' I told him that 'I am sure that you will make a comeback and there's nothing to worry.' Hearing that, Mammootty hugged me and sobbed. I don't think his fans will believe that such a thing happened,” said Ashok.

Mammootty's next release was New Delhi (1987) directed by ace filmmaker Joshiy and written by Dennis Joseph. “I consoled him saying that New Delhi would be a massive success and it would turn the tables for him,” he added.

New Delhi, that ran in theatres for over 100 days, re-scripted Mammootty's career.

“That was Mammootty's return. He never had to look back after that. I don't think Mammootty ever had to face such a bad time again even as some of his movies failed on box office. That is how New Delhi became a landmark film in his career,” said Gayathri Ashok.

Apart from Mammootty, the 1987 film also featured Suresh Gopi, Sumalatha, Urvashi, Thiagarajan, Siddique, Vijayaraghavan, Mohan Jose, Devan, and Jagannatha Varma.