Movies

Mammootty returns as Sethurama Iyer in ‘CBI 5: The Brain’

Mammootty as Sethurama Iyer | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sethurama Iyer returns on May 1. With his trademark mannerisms, measured way of speaking, composure and quick thinking, the sleuth is Kerala’s most famous crime investigator on screen.

As CBI 5: The Brain, the fifth sequel to the Mammootty-starrer Oru CBI Diary Kurippu (1988), is all set to reach cinemas, the anticipation to watch the veteran crime buster at work has only increased among audiences.

(from left) SN Swamy, Mammootty and K Madhu

(from left) SN Swamy, Mammootty and K Madhu | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The same trio, comprising scenarist SN Swamy, director K Madhu and thespian Mammootty, have headlined all films of the series.

Madhu maintains that the success of the series is due to teamwork. “I made Oru CBI Diary Kurippu soon after the blockbuster action film Irupatham Noottandu, also written by SN Swamy. Oru CBI... was a complete change from that film. The softspoken Sethurama Iyer was born thanks to Swamy’s writing and imagination. Mammootty suggested some of the gestures that we associate with the character, such as the way he folds his hand behind him and how the character hardly ever raises his voice,” recalls Madhu.

Oru CBI... crossed language barriers when it released in 1988; the director points out how it ran for 200 days in Safire Theatre in Chennai. “That’s a film that has stood the test of time. Some of its dialogues have found its way into many films subsequently.”

Then came Jagratha (1989), again a murder mystery that is solved by Sethurama Iyer. Next in the series were Sethurama Iyer CBI (2004) and Nerariyan CBI (2005). Each time the trio delivered and Madhu insists he would not want to choose a favourite among the five.

(from left) Renji Panicker, Mammootty, Mukesh, K Madhu  and Jagathy Sreekumar

(from left) Renji Panicker, Mammootty, Mukesh, K Madhu and Jagathy Sreekumar | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In CBI 5:The Brain, Sethurama Iyer joins hands with his old comrades-in-arms Chacko and Vikram, played by Mukesh and Jagathy Sreekumar respectively. The late Sukumaran had played the corrupt Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySp) Devadas in two of the films ( Oru CBI Diary Kurippu and Jagratha) in the series . Saikumar plays his son Sathyadas in the third film.

K Madhu with Jagathy Sreekumar

K Madhu with Jagathy Sreekumar | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“We are happy to bring back Jagathy on the screen, where he reigned till an accident caused serious injuries that derailed his career. Saikumar has also reprised his role in this instalment.”

Renji Panicker, Suresh Kumar, Dileesh Pothan, Anoop Menon, Soubin Shahir, Asha Sharath and Kaniha are some of the actors in the star-studded cast.

Talking rapidly over the phone, Madhu is happy to dwell on the films’ success over the years. However, the minute he is asked for a one-liner on the story of CBI 5:The Brain, he clams up. “It is an investigative story, there is a chain of murders and the officers from the CBI are on the job ,” he says.

In the first of the series, the protagonist, Sethurama Iyer, had no mobile phone, WhatsApp or e-mail. Thirty four years later, the down-to-earth officer has become tech savvy and kept with the times. “Swamy has ensured that the officer is in sync with the modern world. Mammootty looks as fresh as he did in CBI Diary Kurippu,” asserts Madhu.

The challenge, he says, is to live up to the expectations of viewers who last saw the super cop in action 17 years ago.

Mainly shot in Kochi with some sequences taken in Delhi, the director says in all the films, more than heavy action, the unravelling of cases depends on the sharp mind and investigative skills of Iyer. The signature background score of the CBI series, composed by Shyam, has been retained although Jakes Bejoy is the music composer of the film.

Talking about the working relationship with Swamy and Mammootty, Madhu says, “Swamy and I go a long way back. Irupatham Nootandu (1987) was our first film. Many of my films were scripted by him. My first film as director in 1986 was with Mammootty ( Malarum Kiliyum). By now, we know how each person works and how we think. There is perfect understanding on the set,” says Madhu.

He adds that Swamy is not a vocal man. “But after a film, he gives me a pat on the back if he thinks I have done a good job. He did the same after watching CBI 5:The Brain. Now its over to viewers of a new generation.”


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Printable version | May 1, 2022 5:22:51 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/mammootty-returns-as-sethurama-iyer-in-cbi-5-the-brain/article65356540.ece