Saturday, June 09, 2012

Split Wide Open

Because of the desire to move in a new creative direction, the successful partnership of Rafi-Mecartin, the director duo, is coming to an end

Photo: Rafi and Mecartin

By Shevlin Sebastian

At 11 p.m. on November 11, 2007, Mecartin experienced an uneasiness within himself. He felt cold and began shivering. Mecartin was at Ottapallam for the shooting of the film, ‘Romeo’. “I had a sixth sense that something was wrong,” says Mecartin. “I feared that I would slide into unconsciousness.”

He called many people but all were sleeping. Finally, he got Rafi who quickly came to his room. Thereafter, Mecartin was rushed to a private hospital in Ottapallam. There, Mecartin had a stroke of luck. Sometime earlier, another patient had a heart attack. Medicines had been specifically bought to treat the victim. Some of the medicines were not used. “The doctor present, Shanmugham, used it on me,” says Mecartin. “That helped me to survive my attack.”

But during this period, when Mecartin had become unconscious, he had a strange experience. He was in a place where it was all white. “I could feel the tears flowing down my face,” says Mecartin. “I also experienced a joy that I have never felt before.”

A few hours later, when Mecartin opened his eyes, he saw the doctor and nurses and felt a deep disappointment. “I did not want to come back,” he says. “I was happy where I was. But from that moment on, I wanted to begin a new chapter in my life.”

Mecartin believes in the concept of rebirths, even while a person is living his life. “Till 20, I was a student,” he says. “Then I became a keyboard player, studying Carnatic music. Then I got interested in drama. I took part in many plays. Thereafter, I became an employee. Following that, I moved to mimicry. I met up with Rafi and that went on for a few years. Then both of us went into films. Around 25 years went like this.”

But today, Mecartin wants to go in a different direction in his film career. “People expect a Rafi-Mecartin film to be a melodrama, quarrels between family members, and slapstick comedy,” he says.

He gives an example of slapstick comedy. “In a Siddique Lal film, one character will say, ‘Govinda Kutty is going through nice times,’” he says. “The next scene will be of Govindakutty hanging from a rope. That is slapstick comedy, but it is not realism.”

Mecartin says he enjoys making these movies. “But now, I want to make serious films. Yes, I am aware that I have to make the movie in such a way that the producer does not lose money, and the audience should also like it. But Rafi is not keen to do such films.”

The director-duo has been together for 17 years and made about 23 films, the majority of them hits and superhits. These include ‘Puthukottyile Puthu Manavalan, ‘Superman’, ‘Punjabi House, ‘Thenkasipattanam, ‘Chathikkatha Chanthu, ‘Pandippada, and ‘Hallo.

So, one morning, Mecartin invited Rafi over to his apartment near the JN International Stadium at Kaloor, and they discussed the matter for one whole day. In the end, Rafi accepted Mecartin’s decision. However, initial media reports indicated that they split over a quarrel.

“There was nothing like that,” says Mecartin. “It was a mutually amicable parting.” 

Rafi also agrees. “I accepted his decision,” he says. “Mecartin wants to make a different type of film, which is fine with me. Maybe, after a while, we will get together again. It is not a permanent split.”

As for Rafi's plans, he says that he will make films on his own.

But at this moment, both of them are at working on 'Mumbai Dosth', for which they are penning the script. “I think by December, we will be finished with this film,” says Mecartin. “Thereafter, we will go our separate ways.”

(The New Indian Express, All Kerala) 

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