Friday, January 22, 2016

Unexpected Twists and Turns


Scriptwriter/director Rafi talks about his experiences in the films, 'Romeo', ' 'Ringmaster' and 'Aniyan Bava Chettan Bava'

Photos: Scriptwriter/Director Rafi; Dileep in 'Ringmaster' 

By Shevlin Sebastian 

One day, in 2007, scriptwriter Rafi was on the sets of the film, 'Romeo', at Ottapallam. Suddenly, an unit hand came up to him and said that a young man wanted to meet him. So Rafi called him over.

Anish (name changed) shook Rafi's hand and said, “Sir, when I saw Punjabi House [directed by Rafi-Mecartin, 1998] and saw the financial difficulties of Dileep, I had laughed a lot.”

In the film, Dileep had a small notebook that he kept in his pocket, which contained the details of all the debts that he has to pay back. However, a few years later, Anish was in the same position. “Like Dileep, I also carry a notebook,” said Anish. He then took it out and showed Rafi the money he owed to various people, because of a failed business.

I can no longer stay at my home, at Kozhikode,” said Anish. “My family is going through a lot of trouble, because the creditors are harassing them. Now, at night, I sleep at railway stations, temples, or bus stands. However, like in 'Punjabi House', I hope to find a benefactor and, who knows, maybe, somebody to fall in love and marry.”

Rafi tapped Anish consolingly on his shoulders and was about to take out his purse. But Anish quickly said, “Sir, I owe in lakhs, so what you give will not make a difference. But when I heard that you were shooting in the vicinity, I just wanted to tell you about all this.”

Like Anish, on another location, at Pollachi, for the film Ringmaster (2014), director Rafi was facing problems. Dileep plays a dog trainer. A Mumbai-based trainer Pradeep (name changed) had come with a dog. However, when the dog was in a naughty mood, he would not obey Pradeep. Three days went past. The dog remained disobedient. No shooting could be done. Rafi, as well as Pradeep, began to feel tense because of the wasted time.

And then, suddenly, Rafi got an idea, to solve the problem. “In the film, there is a film director who is supposed to shoot Dileep and the tricks done by the dog,” says Rafi. “Instead, I changed it and decided the focus would be on a disobedient animal, just like in real life. So the director would say, 'Please make the dog urinate,' and Dileep, despite his best efforts, was not able to do so. This section turned out to be one of the the most humorous moments in the film.”

There have been times when Rafi has felt nervous, just like Pradeep. This was during the shoot, at the Aluva Government Guest House, of 'Aniyan Bava Chettan Bava' (1995) directed by Rajasenan. Rafi and Mecartin had written the script. Soon Rafi heard that the late Narendra Prasad, who was playing Chettan Bava, wanted to see him, after reading the script. “I knew he was a writer and scholar,” says Rafi. “I thought he wanted to scold me for writing an all-out comedy.”

So, Rafi stayed away whenever Prasad's takes were being done. But, one day, by accident, they both came face to face. Prasad said, “For the past few days I have been asking about you.”

Rafi remained silent. “It is a nice script,” said Prasad. “But I have a suggestion to make. When you wrote about the olden times, you spoke about people spending one or two rupees. But in that era, it was one-fourth and one-half of an anna. Would you have any objection if we changed that?”

Rafi agreed immediately. “Prasad Sir never treated me that I was lesser than him,” says Rafi. “I will always have the deepest respect for him.”

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

No comments:

Post a Comment