'Phayalvaan' who wouldn't lose to hero during the filming of Padmarajan's cult movie

Padmarajan's 'Oridathoru Phayalvaan' was released in 1981.

Kottayam: ‘Oridathoru Phayalvaan’, written and directed by legendary filmmaker P Padmarajan, is often touted as a cult classic in Malayalam cinema. The movie that narrated the story of a local wrestler had won laurels at many international film festivals too. Thiruvananthapuram native Rashid had played the titular role of the 'phayalvaan' or the wrestler in the movie. Years later, he remembers Thiruvathukkal Seyd Muhammad, the noted wrestler, who had also essayed a prominent role in the movie.

It was Rashid who told Padmarajan about Seyd when the director was looking for a real-life wrestler to act in the movie. Padmarajan wanted someone who had a strong and muscular body. He had heard that there were such wrestlers in Kashmir. Padmarajan even suggested travelling to Kashmir to meet some of them in person. Rashid then told Padmarajan about Seyd, a native of Thiruvathukkal in Kottayam, who was a wrestling champion. Padmarajan called Seyd to the film’s location at Kumarakam. The filmmaker was impressed by Seyd’s physique at first sight itself and decided to cast him in the movie.

The scenes in which Seyd and Rashid clash were shot near Kurishupally that stood on the banks of a lake at Pallichira in Kumarakam. Seyd was supposed to lose the fight in the film. But, as the wrestling progressed, it turned out real and Seyd didn’t seem ‘ready’ to accept defeat. Furthermore, someone whispered to him, “Even though it is a movie shoot, the fight is between Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam. It would be a disgrace to lose.” The words invigorated Seyd and the real wrestling champion in him came to the fore. Meanwhile, Padmarajan and the crew were busy filming the scene using two cameras. The director called out several times, asking Seyd to act as losing the fight. But Seyd wouldn't budge. Finally, Padmarajan had to say ‘cut’ and stop the shoot. The scene was completed later by filming separately what the director wanted. 

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