Standup comedy has had so many local variants in Malayalam – Chakyarkoothu, Thullal, Payakkam Parachil, etc, but Binoy Nambala gave his act a new name – Nippanadi! The three-part series released on YouTube during the lockdown period is a humorous take on every day incidents, in North Malabar dialect.
Binoy, noted for his roles in Malayalam movies like Indian Rupee, Kismath, Thottappan, Aadu 2, etc, has been performing theatre long before he joined films. His hour-long show 'Sulaimante Payakkam Parachilukal', a revived version of an age-old Moppila Art form popular in Malabar region in the 1960s, has toured various parts of Kerala before the lockdown. In the satiric show, he plays six characters. “Nippanadi is my personalized version of Payakkam Parachil fit to a single frame and shot. This is my attempt to introduce to people what they don’t know about Malappuram. The show discusses football love, bullet ride, sand mining, the Malabari funny bone and peculiar traits of the region and the people there,” says the Parappanangadi native who fell in love with the long-lost art form during his PhD at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, where he is a student of theatre.
Story-telling is what Binoy excels in, both on stage and on YouTube. “The influence from my research is undeniable. Narration is an art form with wide scope. There could or could not be a script, and there are on-the-spot improvisations to appeal to the type of crowd. In olden days, the performer could be a man who repairs the umbrella, who would suddenly start performing, in a conversation laden with jokes, satire, songs and energy. How engaging his conversation is would be evident from the growing crowd around him.
Binoy believes that theatre has been his forte always. “Films never attracted me at first. I had known Amal Neerad since theatre days, and it was at his behest that I tried films. It was in 2010 through a minor role in Anwar that I started acting in movies, but it was Ranjith’s film Indian Rupee which shot me to fame. Ranjiyettan created that character, of a man with intellectual disability continuously, specifically for me.” Since, then, he has played memorable roles in several films. However, he never left theatre for movies. In 2018, Binoy was chosen the second best actor by the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi for his role in the play Bombay Tailors. His upcoming film assignments are Five and Kochaal, and he is awaiting the release of Rajeev Ravi’s Thuramugham, which is a special project for Binoy, who had played a prominent character in the theatrical version directed by his guru Gopan Chidambaram.
Nippanadi episodes might be just over three-four minutes, but several rehearsals go behind it – the final single-shot episode took him seven days to shoot. The episodes are shot on phone by Binoy’s wife Dhanya. Editing is handled by Dileep Dennis and creative contributions come from his friends and theatre colleagues. He hasn’t so far touched on serious subjects, but in the wake of many recent political controversies and fake news about Malappuram doing the rounds, he plans to talk about current issues in the show. “Lockdown or not, I will continue the show. Nothing, I believe, should limit an artiste from bringing out his creative work. This is one platform which lets me do whatever I want to. Everywhere else, I am being directed. Nippanadi is where I can unleash my creativity. What I need is honest scrutiny and opinions from viewers. Only then can I better myself,” he concludes.