COLUMN: LOCATION DIARY
Film editor Shameer Muhammed talks about his experiences in the films, ‘Grandmaster’, ‘Jawan of Vellimala’ and ‘Ennu Ninte Moideen’
Photo: Albin Mathew
By Shevlin Sebastian
When Mohanlal came into the location set at Ernakulam for the film, 'Grandmaster' (2012), all the people stood up. However, editor Shameer Muhammed was sitting down, with an Apple Mac Book Pro on his lap. But when he saw that everybody was standing, he felt flustered and got up suddenly. Unfortunately, the laptop, worth Rs 1.5 lakh, fell to the floor and became damaged at one side.
“There is a warranty for every part, except for physical damage,” says Shameer. “I became very tense. Mohanlal saw this. He came up and spoke to me in a soothing voice, 'Let it be. Don't worry. No need to think about it'.”
Mohanlal would have long conversations with Shameer. “He asked me about my family, and who were the people at home,” says Shameer. “I told him I had only my mother. My father had passed away.”
One day, Shameer was talking to his mother Shareefa when Mohanlal came to the set. “He asked me who I was talking to,” says Shameer. “I said it is my mother.”
Mohanlal took the phone and said, “Hello Umma, this is Lal.” Shareefa immediately recognised Lal’s distinctive voice. He asked about her welfare and the family cat. “My mother felt very happy,” says Shameer.
At that time, in 2012, Facebook had taken off. Through the laptop camera, Shameer would post selfies with Mohanlal. “As a result, I would get 200 friend requests every day,” says Shameer. “Both of us would read all the comments.”
During this time, Shameer was seeing girls to get married. When he would go into orthodox Muslim households, the parents and the girl would show interest till Shameer mentioned that he worked as a spot editor in Mollywood. “They did not realise that it is a lucrative job,” says Shameer.
Because of the hectic shoot on ‘Grandmaster’, Shameer found it difficult to leave the sets. But one day, at Ernakulam, there was a gap of a few hours before the next shoot. Shameer rushed to Thrissur to meet a girl who worked in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a hospital. “When my colleagues asked me where I was, I said I was meeting a girl in the ICU for marriage purposes,” says Shameer. “That went around the set like wildfire.”
When he returned, Shameer was sitting next to director B Unnikrishnan and stars like Jagathy. “They all started teasing me,” says Shameer. “Suddenly, Mohanlal Sir said, 'Your marriage will take place before September (2012). I am not just saying this for the sake of it. It will actually happen. I have predicted many marriages.”
When Lal said this it was the month of February. It was at this time, Shameer innocuously accepted a friend request from a girl called Reshma. She was an avid Mohanlal fan. Reshma requested Shameer to arrange a meeting. So, during the audio launch of ‘Grandmaster’ at Ernakulam, Reshma came and was introduced to Mohanlal. Soon, sparks flew between Shameer and Reshma. “I briefly thought about marriage but dropped the idea because Reshma is a Christian,” says Shameer. “But I remained in a confused state.”
It was at this time that the English subtitling of ‘Grandmaster’ was taking place. Shameer was assisting Latha, cinematographer Madhu Ambat's wife, and a woman called Rekhs.
“Rekhs asked me whether I had a girlfriend,” says Shameer. “I said no but there was a girl called Reshma that I liked. Rekhs asked for our sun signs. I said I am a Capricorn while Reshma is a Virgo.”
Coincidentally, Rekhs and her husband are both Capricorns. So, they got along very well. She said that Capricorn and Virgo do get along well.
“You will rarely fight with each other,” said Rekhs. As soon as Shameer heard this, he went outside, called Reshma and proposed marriage. In the end, they got married on June 11 and inadvertently fulfilled Mohanlal's prediction that he would be married before September.
Shameer has also worked with the superstar Mammootty. This was for a song in ‘Jawan of Vellimala’ but it was being shot during the Ramzan period. Shameer is a person who does not observe a fast at all. “But I was told that Mammootty Sir was very strict regarding taking fasts,” says Shameer. “He would get upset if community members did not observe it.”
So, for the first and only time in his life, Shameer began fasting. “But I managed for only five days before I began eating again,” says Shameer, with a smile.
Meanwhile, during the shoot of ‘Ennu Ninte Moideen’ (2015), at Ottapallam, it was all about eating. “On most sets, the food tastes the same,” says Shameer. “So, I would take off at lunchtime and go and eat in the local hotels. One day Jomon [T. Jomon, cinematographer] tagged along.”
There were many small hotels which were offering meals. “We would eat there,” says Shameer. “Soon, [director RS] Vimal also joined us. One day, we entered the kitchen of a hotel. Vimal is a very good cook. So, before the fish got fried, he put a lot of ginger and cumin seeds to increase the taste. Then once at a location, he got the local people to catch a few fish from a nearby river. Vimal cooked it on the bank and we ate it. It was delicious.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram)