“Here, the big bat has popped up through the bottom door’ (Adivathilum thurannu vannekkuvanu kadavavalu)… now deliver the dialogue.”
Movie buffs may not forget the little boy in ‘Rasikan’ who made the audience laugh their heart out by delivering the full-length dialogue in natural innocence even before Dileep could finish saying this. The child actor who garnered the focus with a single scene is Harimurali. Though his character had no specific name in the film, social media enthusiasts fondly called him Unnikuttan. After 'Rasikan,' he portrayed the childhood of the character played by Siddique in ‘Annan Thampi’ and Prithviraj's younger brother in ‘Amar Akbar Anthony.’ He also acted as a child artist in some serials. But later, he vanished from the screens and spectators had no idea about his whereabouts.
Like Harimurali, there have been many actors in Malayalam cinema who became the favorites of moviegoers through their small roles and appearances in a single scene. We don’t know where many of them are today. Manorama Online's 'Ormayundo Ee Mukham' programme is aimed at identifying such people and bringing them before the public once again.
Did you quit acting? Where are you?
I stopped acting at the age of fifteen. I took the decision when it seemed that acting was affecting my studies. I did a role in ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ because of my relationship with Vishnu Chettan and Bibin Chettan. Later, I did my studies in Bangalore. After that, I went to the UAE in connection with my job. Now I am at home. I am a VFX artist. My current vocation is editing and writing.
That dialogue was Dileepettan's idea!
My father is a theatre director and an artist. I grew up in theatre camps. So I was interested in acting from a very young age. I had gone to deliver a dialogue 'Good morning teacher' in a play written by my father’s friend. It was the start of my acting career. After that, I got a call for acting in a serial. Then, from serial to film. I was a six-year-old when I acted in my first film, Rasikan.
At that time, no children of a similar age were acting in films. That was the lucky part. So, people took notice of me through the dialogue ‘Adivathilum thurannu vannekkuvanu kadavavalu’ in Rasikan. But that dialogue was not there in the script and was the contribution of Dileepettan at the time of dubbing. In that scene, Dileepettan is leaning on his back. If you look closely, you will notice it. If Dileepettan hadn't felt like saying so, myself and the dialogue would never have become such a hit. Today, my identity itself is that dialogue. 'Rasikan' was Samvrutha chechi's first film too. We had a good relationship. Since I was a kid, everyone on the set used to carry me. After Rasikan, I also acted in films like 'Madambi', 'Don', and 'Annan Thampi'. But it was the character in Rasikan that made the impact.
Other kids rarely used to play with me…
It’s not only studies that prompted me to stay away from cinema, there are other reasons as well. I was four-and-a-half years old when I began acting. Social media was not very popular then. But people were familiar with my face as I used to act in serials. This had personally affected me then. The children from near my house didn’t include me in the games and all. Even at school, the kids used to maintain a distance from me and refused to mingle with me. Maybe they felt shy and presumed I was arrogant, which might explain the strange behavior.
During train journeys, people would approach me and say they watched my serials and compliment me on my performance. But I was perplexed by the questions. I was only a small child and couldn’t handle such attention. I decided to quit acting because of this. However, now I want to make a comeback to cinema, if I get a good role. People still like me a lot and I don’t want to change that.
Mammookka is one film personality who greatly influenced me. People would always ask me whether I liked Mammootty or Mohanlal better. My reply has always been the same. “As an actor, Mammookka and as a star, Lalettan”. I portrayed a villain role in Annan Thampi. I was the one who also dubbed for Sonu and Monu, who played Mammookka's childhood. One day, I was proceeding to dub when Mammootty told me my fate would be sealed with this film, which could either be a flop or hit since the movie starts by showing my leg. I then met Mammookka after a gap of six years. Surprisingly, he recognized me and spoke to me. Mammookka is one person who keeps people in his memory for long periods. That quality of his simply amazes me.