Ever since the CBI series directed by K Madhu hit the screen in 1988, Malayalam film viewers could never get enough of the no-nonsense brilliant investigator Sethurama Iyer. Thirty-four years later, the character is back and this time solving the biggest crime of his career.
Scriptwriter SN Swamy, who spent years working on the crime scenes, says the mystery in CBI 5 was the hardest to crack of all the films in the series till date.
"Writing an investigative piece is never easy. You need to keep working and reworking on the plots and subplots. Most of the time, I would hit the wall for months not knowing how I could solve the case. That was the biggest challenge for me," he said, adding that it took him two years to finalise the climax of CBI 5. "You will understand when you watch the movie," he adds.
'CBI 5: The Brain', the fifth in the series, is set for release on May 1.
So which was the most memorable crime he has cracked? "There are many memorable scenes. I particularly remember it took me six months to crack the 'Isow-Mosi' scene in 'Sethurama Iyer CBI'. During the scripting process, I decided to have 'Isow' written on the wall. But little did I know that it would take me many months to crack that scene" he added.
The scriptwriter adds that people always love a good investigation story. "This is why CBI worked very well among the masses. They want more brains than brawn in a movie. They like to watch cases being resolved intellectually. Sethurama Iyer is intelligent and does not resort to violence any time," he said.
So, was this the psychology that worked for the movie? "That was only one reason. We realised it would be interesting to tell a story in which there was a conflict between the police and the CBI. The cops are not always the good guys in front of the public. This is probably because there was an ingrained fear from our childhood about the police, at least during the 1980s and 1990s. So, we brought in a hero (the CBI) who could overcome the cops with their intellect," he adds.
Quiz him whether the founding Director-General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Radha Vinod Raju had inspired Sethurama Iyer's character in the CBI series. "Not at all. I don't know why people think he was the inspiration. Radha Vinod and Mammootty knew each other in college. That's all. Maybe Mammootty would have picked up some mannerisms unconsciously from him, but that's all," said Swamy.
Any more details about CBI 5? "I don't want to reveal any details about the movie. Let people watch and comment," he concludes.