Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Dog’s Timely Arrival


Director Johny Antony talks about his experiences in the films, ‘CID Moosa’, ‘Cycle’ and 'Thoppil Joppan' 

Photos: Director Johny Antony by Sachin Aliathy; the poster of 'CID Moosa' 

By Shevlin Sebastian

Director Johny Antony was feeling tense. It was an early morning location shoot, on the outskirts of Kochi, for ‘CID Moosa’ (2003). There was a sequence where Moosa, played by Dileep, was exercising next to his German Shepherd dog, Arjun. Suddenly, Arjun was supposed to see a beautiful female dog and chase her into the jungle. The problem was that Johny had not been able to locate the second dog. But he did not want to upset Dileep, so he kept quiet about it.

Instead, he decided to shoot some other sequences. “As we were coming to the end of those scenes, I thought to myself, ‘If I could get the other dog now, it would be nice’,” says Johny.  

At that moment, Johny saw a man going on an early morning jog accompanied by a dog. Immediately, he told one of his assistants to approach the man, and to ask him whether he would allow his dog to be included in the film. “The man readily agreed,” says Johny. “The shoot lasted for an hour. And the dog behaved perfectly. We could complete the shoot in an hour.”

Johny pauses, and says, “Sometimes, during a shoot, luck plays a big role. And that was what happened in this film.” Of course, the luck held, as ‘CID Moosa’ became a super-duper hit.

Another film which did well was ‘Cycle’ (2008), which starred Vineeth Sreenivasan. In the film, Vineeth, along with his friend, Vinu Mohan, steal a bag of money from the private financing company of which he is an employee. They are chased by a group of villains, including Jagathy, the late Cochin Haneefa, Sai Kumar and Sadiq.

Vineeth removes the money and throws the bag into a lake. The villains were supposed to step into the water and search for it under the water's surface. The shoot was to take place at the Periyar River, near Aluva.

But the night before, Cochin Haneefa said that he was unwell and would prefer not to duck under the water. So Johny agreed and told him to just stand in the water and pretend that he is ducking his head.

The next day, all the actors stood in the water.

Johny then said, “Action” followed by “Okay, duck your head.”

And to his surprise, Johny saw that Cochin Haneefa also ducked his head. When Haneefa came up to the surface he burst out laughing. Then the veteran of more than 300 films told Johny, “Too many years of obeying the director! I could not stop myself from ducking my head when you told me to do so.”

Now, it was Johny’s turn to laugh.

In the just-released film, 'Thoppil Joppan', Johny had another chance to laugh. At the shoot, at the CMS College, Kottayam, in May, Mammooty decided to improvise the dialogue a bit.

He plays a kabaddi player who becomes obsessed with alcohol, after losing his lover, Annie, played by Andrea Jeremiah. As he talks about his pain, suddenly Mammooty says, “The bars have stopped, but not the beverages (The Kerala State Beverages Corporation, which distributes alcohol in the state).”

The crowd, at the location, burst into laughter when he said this. “I decided to put it in the film, because of this reaction,” says Johny. “And, sure enough, in the hall, the audience start laughing when Mammooty says this dialogue.” 

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

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