“PG Wodehouse is my God and all my humour emanates from the joint family that we had. Now both humour and joint families have become a rarity,” observes this master of humour.
His website www.crazymohan.com introduces him as “an Engineer by Qualification, an Artiste by Interest, and a Humourist by Birth.”
It goes on to describe him thus: Crazy Mohan's distinctive brand of humour (during the past 35 years) has enlivened the life of millions, who at last found a way to laugh, despite bomb blasts, changing political scenario, unsteady share markets, nagging in-laws and never-ending mega serials. He has authored 24 rip-roaring dramas, done major roles in 15 plays written for his own Crazy Creations, and staged over 6,000 shows in every nook and corner of Tamil Nadu, major cities of India as also USA (coast to coast – Thrice), Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Gulf countries and Sri Lanka. This includes the current hit play “Chocolate Krishna”, staged over 375 times in just two years. He has produced, acted and written 10 hilarious TV Serials. He has written the script for 45 films – 15 for Kamal Hassan including humour epics such as AVVAI SHANMUGI, ABOORVA SAHODARARGAL, MICHAEL MADANA KAMARAJAN, TENALI, VASOOL RAJA MBBS., etc. and – Rajnikanth's ARUNACHALAM. He has also authored over 150 short and serial stories in leading magazines.
Now he is into writing “ venpas” (a poetic form) of Raghuvamsam and also “Ramanayanam” (Ramana Maharishi's philosophy). Aurobindo called Ramanar ‘Spiritual Hercules', he points out and tells that he is “my navigator”. He has two more big movie projects as well. He is shortly going to do a celebrity talk show on Kalaignar TV.
“I have only humour but no glamour (unlike other anchors),” he tells G.Sathyamoorthi in a free-wheeling chat.
The 58-year-old actor was in Coimbatore on October 23 and 24 to stage his play “ madhil mel Maadhu”.
How did he get into the field of drama, that too when giants like YGP, Balachander, Cho, etc. were prowling the scene?
“When I was studying in Guindy Engineering College, my brother Balaji was in Vivekananda College. I used to write some skits, etc. for the inter-collegiate festivals and my brother was pretty successful as an actor. It was the same group which turned out to be our troupe called Crazy Creations in 1979.”
To him, humour is nothing but a slight exaggeration. At times, it borders even on absurdity.
“ Sirippu” (laughter), to him, is “ siri uppu” (salt like).Thus humour is an essential commodity in life; but, of course, a rare commodity.
Humour is an ocean. PG Wodehouse, Kalki, Devan and O.Henry were masters. “I am just enjoying the sea breeze. Much more needs to be and could be done in this form.”
He admits that humour is not easy to come by.
“All writers hit a mental block. Even Vyasa is said to have suffered so. But you require patience. There have been occasions when it took even five to six hours to spark a single joke.”
“Getting ideas is nothing but God's gift. But it requires active meditation or passive dynamism. That is what exactly I learnt from my friend Ravi.”
“Cracking a joke is no big deal. But how to make your co-actor do it matters more. Thus the previous dialogue of the joke counts the most. This is what I call the artless art of repartee.”
Audience want relaxation. I am trying to remove the stress that they suffer in their daily life. “No writer can solve their problems. Only noble souls like Aurobindo, Ramana Maharishi, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Bharathi can attempt it. But I am acting like an anaesthetist. I sedate them and perform.”
Elaborating the concept, he says, we make the audience forget their trials and tribulations. Thus forgetfulness becomes bliss. More you remember, more you suffer. What we are trying to do is not deleting (their sorrows) as done by computers but delighting them. For that matter, even the recently released “Endhiran” is also full of humour.”
While saying that he is “genetically not endowed with writing ability”, he points to his “big joint family” and the “happy atmosphere” that make him what he is.
“I was brought up by my grandparents - a rarity nowadays as most of our children do not get to see their grandparents at all. I was encouraged by them. Hailing from a middle class family, I also had only middle class themes like Wodehouse.”
It has been his voracious reading that has stood him in good stead.
It was my friend Ravi who introduced me to reading. “He has made me what I am. He should have been in my place for all his ability,” Mr. Mohan admits with humility.
“My wife used to call me 10X10 because I rarely get out of my room. Even when I was in the US I didn't bother to stir out to see even the Niagara Falls. I love reading and do a lot of painting, even on the computer. I would like to have an exhibition of my paintings also.”
“Of course, I have been a spiritual person. I have also slowly started evolving into a sort of philosophical person. For me God is no separate entity. But He is what Vivekananda used to say: doing something passionately and achieving perfection in that. You can see God even in your goal post. I am now totally avoiding any whiff of vulgarity and dialogue like ‘ kaadhu ketkadhu', which hurt somebody. I have started giving morals. In my “Chocolate Krishna”, I tell the audience: God is your vehicle. The choice of driving is yours. If you drive complying with rules like dharma, you can reach your destination without any accident”.
I am slowly inclined to give some serious stuff also. “My next project on the stage is going to be ‘Samsari Krishna', a sequel to ‘Chocolate Krishna'.
“Take things easy; life is crazy,” he observes and concludes quoting the doyen of scholars Agnihotram Ramanuja Thathachariar: for attaining the God of tomorrow, do good today.