Sathyan Anthikad recalls how Mammootty prepared for the iconic role of Chandu

Veteran filmmaker Sathyan Anthikad recalls an interesting incident from when he had travelled in Mammootty’s car from Ernakulam to Thrissur. “He played a cassette in the car stereo. It had dialogues in MT Vasudevan Nair’s voice. Mammootty had recorded the dialogues from the movie titled ‘Oru Vadakkan Veeragadha’ that was penned by MT and was to be directed by Hariharan, in the legendary writer’s voice. He had made the man, who wrote the dialogues record them, so that Mammootty would know where to give the stress and how to modulate. I noticed that Mammootty was trying to mouth those dialogues in the same manner.”

“MT wouldn’t do this for anyone else; and no other actor would practice this hard. This had happened at least three months before the filming had begun. He became Chandu not after reaching the sets. Mammotty arrives at the location as Chandu. It was this dedication that we had seen in that movie.”

One day, Sathyan and Mammootty were staying in adjacent hotel rooms. The filmmaker noticed Mammootty exercising in the morning despite shooting until the wee hours. Sathyan who knew how hard Mammootty had worked the previous night asked him to get some sleep. “It was the time when Koodevide and Kanamarayathu had released. Mammootty told me, ‘Sathya, new comers like Rahman have arrived. We have to be ready in order to compete with them.’

"Mammootty still competes with the newcomers. I have seen only one ‘face’ that stays on as eternal new face in Malayalam cinema. That person is Mammootty. Even today, Mammootty remains a newcomer in his body and mind,” says Sathyan.

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