The loveable trio, Mannar Mathai, Balakrishnan and Gopalakrishnan, who had viewers in splits in Ramji Rao Speaking, are back with another escapade in director Mamas’ new film Mannar Mathai Speaking 2.
The trio that made generations of movie goers rock with laughter is back with a bang! The years that passed may have added a few numbers to their age – and their girth – but Mannar Mathai (Innocent), Balakrishnan (Sai Kumar) and Gopalakrishnan (Mukesh) remain the same at heart. At the location of writer-director Mamas’ Mannar Mathai Speaking 2, on the veranda of a house at Ezhupunna, the three are engaged in some argument, in their trademark style.
The trio first made their appearance in Siddique-Lal's Ramji Rao Speaking, way back in 1989, now regarded as a cult film that changed the course of comedy in Malayalam. The new film is the third in the series, coming after ,Mannar Mathai Speaking (1995).
“In the earlier stories, the three were unemployed and the humour revolved around issues related to that. Now, their Urvashi Theatres has become Urvashi Tours and Travels. In fact, the new story takes place in the backdrop of some incidents connected to their new venture,” says Mamas. Pappi AppachaCinema Company
There are a few characters from Mannar Mathai Speaking that will be seen in the new version too, such as the farcical don, Ramji Rao (Vijayaraghavan), and theatre veteran Garvasees Asan (Janardhanan). Aparna Gopinath, Basil and Shammi Thilakan are also in the cast.
“Almost every Malayali movie buff knows these characters and it is definitely a challenge to live up to their expectations. The pattern will be similar to the earlier versions and we are making it a laugh riot,” says the director.
In the scene being filmed, Mannar Mathai and Balakrishnan can’t stop laughing as Gopalakrishnan presents some serious issues.
“I feel that it is easier to do the characters again since we have already done them twice on screen and have watched the movies several times over the years,” says Innocent.
His character, Mannar Mathai, who once used to run Urvashi Theatres , is now busy with the travel agency. “Though the other two are not too keen, he continues with his passion of writing plays and dreams of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the troupe by staging a new drama,” he says.
Adds Saikumar: “True, we have all become older and are more experienced in life by now. But our basic nature remains the same.” His character, Balakrishnan, is a widower in the story.
“Though I started off as a child artiste, this character marked the beginning of my career on screen. I have worked really hard to get into shape and have reduced almost 14 kilos to match the look,” he says.
Mukesh, meanwhile, says that his character, Gopalakrishnan, is now married with two daughters. His wife is working in West Asia. “Of course, Gopalakrishnan’s attitude to life is still the same and is still as carefree as he was once. His daughters are coming for a visit and we all are getting ready to welcome them in this scene,” he says.
Part of several sequels
Mukesh, who has been part of several sequels in the past such as the CBI Diary Kurippu series, In Harihar Nagar series and in Akkare Akkare Akkare, the third part of Nadodikkattu, adds: “We have to be very careful while doing such films. Viewers reach theatres with their own assumptions and expectations about the characters who are already familiar to them.”
Mannar Mathai Speaking 2 is being produced under the banner of SJM Entertainments by Sibi Thottupuram and Jobi Mundamattam. Vishnu Narayan is the cinematographer and Rahul Raj scores the music. Stills are by Ton.