Sunday, November 29, 2015

Shivering with Fear on a Bridge


Actor Joy Mathew talks about his experience in the upcoming film, 'Mohavalayam'

By Shevlin Sebastian

One morning in November, actor Joy Mathew stood on top of a box on the edge of a bridge at the King Fahd causeway which connects Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. This was a scene from the upcoming film, 'Mohavalayam' by director TV Chandran. Joy was playing a film-maker called Jose Sebastian. In the climax, Joy was supposed to jump from the bridge, which is at a height of 200 feet, into the water.

The camera crew wanted to take a long shot. So they stood 600 metres away. “It was not possible to hear what they were saying,” says Joy. “They called me on the mobile phone. It was in my shirt pocket. But I could not take it.”

One reason was because Joy was shivering with fear. The cars and trucks on the four-lane causeway behind him were zipping past at speeds of 150 kms per hour. “It was causing a vibration,” says Joy. “I was finding it difficult to keep my balance.”

Suddenly, one of the drivers pressed the brake. “He thought I was going to commit suicide,” says Joy. “But he could not stop because there were other speeding cars behind him. This background screeching caused even more tension in me.”

Another cause for worry was that Joy did not know swimming. “If I fell into the water, there was very little chance that I would survive,” he says.

Meanwhile, Chandran kept calling Joy on the mobile phone. “So I decided to start acting,” says Joy. “But there was no need to do so. I was genuinely afraid. The expressions in the scene were natural.”

After the shoot was over, a relieved Joy jumped down from the stool. Within a few minutes, the Bahraini police arrived. Somebody had informed them that a suicide attempt was taking place.

They asked me who had jumped,” says Joy. “I said, 'I am the person, but I did not jump. I am alive'.”

One of the officers said, “Are you mad?”

Joy said that he is an actor and the role demanded such an action.

One reason for the cops' worry was because it is a bridge where a lot of people had attempted suicide.

Then the police asked Chandran and Joy whether they had secured permission.

Indeed, permission had been taken. But it was to shoot near the bridge and not on it. “Since the police did not see me standing on the stool, it was okay,” says Joy.

That night, when Joy told his eldest son Mathew, about the incident, he said, “Please remember you have a wife and three children at home [in Kozhikode].”

'Mohavalayam', which will be released in January, 2016, is a story about the dreams and aspirations of Malayalees who reach Bahrain from Saudi Arabia, by crossing the causeway. The other actors include Maithili, Renji Panicker, Shine Tom Chacko, Siddique and Sudheesh.  

(Published in The New Indian Express, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode)

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