Dasan and Vijayan, Pavanaazhi, Dick-ammayi (a christening done before the word got its 'below the belt' meaning), Still Photographer Nischal, House Owner Gopalakrishna Panicker, Damodar-ji, Bheemsingh ka Beta Ram Singh....
Kilometres and kilometres from Washington DC to.., Angane Pavanayi Shavamaayi..Enthokke aayirunnu..Malappuram Kathi..Olakkede Mood, Welcome to Ooty..Nice to Meet you, Kochinte peru Malaa Malaa, Ethra manoharam aaya aajarangal....
(PS: The true essence and humour is lost in translation, I know)
If you are a Malayalee and if you love Malayalam films, then none of these characters or dialogues would need introduction or explanation. More than two generations have laughed and laughed and continue to laugh at these characters and their dialogues. I may be a little partial to actor Mohanlal in this selection, but not many can argue that he's been part of some of the most entertainingly hilarious films in Malayalam. This post isn't about Mohanlal or his expertise at humour. It's about films, characters, dialogues that have left Malayalees literally rolling in laughter (at least it's happened many a times in our family, my mom's even had an asthma attack after all the uncontrollable laughing), and still has all of us breaking into an equally enjoyable laugh every time we see it, hear it or even think about it. In fact, I find I have a smile on my face while writing this.
Almost all Malayalee (not in a mood to to use the Mallu tag) homes mention at least one of these characters or dialogues in their every day routine. 'Ellathinum athintethaaya samayum undu Dasaa...', a dialogue that pops into many discussions in many Malayalee families, even today. Movies like Kilukkam, Chithram, Gandhinagar 2nd street, Naadodikattu, Aram+Aram=Kinnaram (pardon the all-Mohanlal list, it's only a coincidence) have us laughing even before the characters mouth their dialogues.
My aunt who has a Gujarati son-in-law has only one woe. "He's a lovely person, very intelligent and well-behaved. But what to do, we cannot share our Mohanlal-Jagathy jokes with him!"
Hats off to a generation of writers, directors, actors who conceived and executed such characters/dialogues with ease and a certain brilliance too. To have people laugh at the same joke over and over and over again is no short of brilliance. Where are those movies? Where are those refreshingly humorous dialogues? Where are those cutely cunning characters? Where are those innocently mischievous movies?
I miss them. I miss them even more after a disaster of a film I saw yesterday. Funny doesn't mean a self-proclaimed superstar dressed in a outrageous outfit (not befitting his 40-plus age) mouthing 'trying-to-be-funny' dialogues with a stupid expression and a thumping loud background. The humour of the 80s and early 90s was subtle, situational and very emotional. It was not loud, forced or accessorised.
I miss them. I miss them even more when I think that my son and the children today may not be fortunate to enjoy simple, sensitive humour. Not to say all attempts are a disaster...some efforts can be lauded..but not quite there though.
My Malayalee friends...do write about your favourite Dasans & Vijayans and your most enjoyable dialogues.
(PS: This post was inspired by an old school mate...thanks Rijo)