It was recently revealed that actor Suresh Gopi was made to bite into a living rat in one of the scenes in Yuvathurki directed by Bhadran. It was production controller Sethu who revealed it while praising the impeccable dedication of the actor. However, director Bhadran wishes to speak about something else that no one has bothered to notice about the movie.
Actors go for perfection
The veteran film maker says that the actors, during those days, were ready to go to any extent for the perfection of their roles and the movies. Bhadran opens up to Manorama Online about the great stars and their incredible passion for their craft, which inspired a culture of star worship.
“I have read in an online news portal that I made Suresh Gopi eat a living rat. Yes, it is true that the rat was alive. But, the article shouldn’t be written like that. Instead of writing as if I had forced Suresh Gopi eat the rat, it should’ve been presented as how the actor was willing even to bite a real rat for the perfection of his character. To shoot the scene in which he is made to bite a rat, the art director had brought a fake rat. However, I couldn’t accept it. The shot that I had planned in my mind shows the rat in full close up, especially the helplessness and pain in the shining eyes of the rodent,” reveals Bhadran.
Bhadran insisted that the shot couldn’t be filmed with originality if a fake model of the rat is used. The director said that Suresh Gopi had happily obliged to do the scene with a living rat when the former explained the scene. Yuvathurki was hailed as a neo noir movie that was taken in the background of the Thihar prison. “The rat was scrubbed clean using hot water and disinfectant before using it. The conditions in the Thihar jail were pathetic. The atmosphere there was disgusting. So, the amazing professionalism displayed by Suresh Gopi in those circumstances needs to be applauded,” notes the film maker.
Suresh Gopi, a loving person
Bhadran calls Suresh Gopi one of the most loving persons in Malayalam cinema. The director feels Suresh calls him ‘chetta’ (elder brother) in the sweetest way. Once Suresh Gopi called Bhadran after the former was elected MP and expressed his wish to enjoy some steamed bananas and idlis at the director’s house. Bhadran invited Suresh Gopi to his house and while the duo were enjoying a conversation in the sit out, the director reminded the actor about the rat scene. However, the actor playfully told Bhadran not to remind him of that scene.
“I read to him an article about the movie ‘Revenant’. The movie has a scene in which the lead character bites into the liver of a dead animal and eats it as he is helpless and famished. The actor who is an Oscar winner said, while biting the fake liver that was made by the art director, ‘bring the original liver’. He wanted to have real expressions on his face when he bites into the liver of a real animal. I reminded Suresh how the rat scene had stirred a controversy, years ago. I told him that I had made him bite a living rat to capture the real expressions that came on his face. Suresh left after hugging me and planting a kiss on my cheek,” smiles Bhadran.
“The son who cuts off the sleeves of his father’s shirt, the hero who drinks goat blood and the prodigal son who removes his mundu and fights in the streets were fictitious instances that were created for cinematic purposes, twenty five years ago. All those scenes were required to justify the theme of the movie. Many asked me whether the audience would accept all these. But, I knew the real vibe of the audience. Mohanlal’s character in Spadikam had become an icon among the Keralites around the globe. It was not him wearing the Rayban glasses or drinking the goat’s blood that captured their attention but the real base of the movie,” notes the film maker.
The director observes that the Malayalai audience could easily feel one with Mohanlal’s character in Spadikam. The makers of the movie are all set to release it again, just to give the youngsters a real and firsthand experience of enjoying the mass movie in the theater. He calls Mohanlal, an actor who does the maximum for a character. He reveals that Mohanlal had dropped the ball in the basket ball ring while riding a motorcycle, without any rehearsals, in one of the shots in the song ‘Nila Paithale’ in the movie Aolympian Anthony Adam. “Cinema is 75% imagination. But the success lies when the audience feels it as reality; that is heroism. That is how people begin to feel admiration to the stars,” explains Bhadran.
Bhadran says the actors were ready to make any compromises just to make their characters and the movie perfect. However, he feels that there is no sufficient preparation for a movie these days. He notes that anyone could make a movie using a smart phone. “In the olden days, we were scared even to touch a Rolleiflex camera or the Yashika camera. Now, the youngsters have technical brilliance. Technology could be used to correct anything.
However, themes and plots that amaze us are scarce. I always call and appreciate a director whenever I watch a good movie. I am a dare devil person. A movie is being made after working hard for it, for years. The filming begins only after evaluating and reimagining each shot in mind. So, that sort of dedication is being trivialized when articles are written as if I had forced my actors to do something,” says Bhadran.