A tribute to 'Crazy' Mohan

Mohan wanted everyone to be happy, says brother Madhu Balaji

He valued goodwill above everything

I wish to thank all those who stood with the Crazy Family in this hour of grief and shock. Calls are still pouring in. It seems at 60 places in the U.S., homage was arranged during the funeral hour. Was Mohan even aware that he was loved so much? I doubt because he never thought much of his talent.

One jarring note was the doubt expressed in the social media about his health and the “poor treatment.” I wish to clarify that he was ill only on Monday morning and got the best attention from medical experts.

Mohan’s aim was to keep people laughing and he enjoyed doing it. About a dozen teenagers from the U.S., who were here on vacation, turned up to pay homage. They said Mohan uncle had drawn a sketch of each and gifted them. He loved doing such things. And as a brother I’m so happy that I could repay in my own little way by arranging ‘Ramanayanam’ a month ago. Again, he never thought it would draw a crowd and was overwhelmed to see a houseful audience. For a change, I made him sit in the front row and enjoy the concert. “Relax, I said, this is your day out with Ramana.” Looking back, it turned out to be a farewell because everyone was there and he spoke to all of them — his last public function.

They say that I’m the pillar of Crazy Creations. Where would I be without his scripts or support? And the freedom that he gave. No questions asked about money — whether we were performing here or abroad. His bottomline was simple —“Everyone should benefit. Win-win situation.” Personally, all I had to do was arrange rice — rasam, curd — and kesari. Anyway, his personal assistant Partha was always there to play chef.

 

He was so prolific that for a 150-minute play, he wrote 400 pages. It was left to poor Khanthan to edit, who was not ‘appreciated’ for using his scissors. Mohan’s response was typically simple. “What’s your problem? Take whatever you want and leave the rest for another time.” K. Balachander once said in exasperation, “Mohan, what you have given me for a scene is too much even for an entire film. And where can I cut. Everything is good.”

I would say that he was prophetic because with the material he has left we can come up with many productions. Yes, Crazy Creations will rise. Give us time to recover.

Kamal Haasan said, “I expect you to return after a decent interval. I’ll be there in the front row. Henceforth, I’ll be the trustee. You can use my photo and name in the promos.”

Kamal and Mohan had a special bond. “I cried for the first time in my life,” Kamal confided. There was a Muslim fan, who brought gifts for both Mohan and Kamal. The packet contained sweets and a tee shirt for each. Mohan would inform Kamal and his driver would pick it up. Over the past week-end, Kamal was travelling and couldn’t take the calls. When they finally spoke, Mohan explained. Kamal said: Oh, I thought it was something very important that you had called me so many times. Mohan replied: “Why Kamal, should I not call you? I just wanted to talk to you.” Recalling this Kamal broke down.

Did Mohan have a premonition? May be. One of his last verses went like this: “The dead are carried by the living...” It was uncharacteristic and I chided him. He retorted: “What’s wrong Balaji, who is permanent here? Even great souls have departed once the purpose was achieved. Only those who have not been born will not die.” Even as I was staring at him he called Partha and said, “Don’t buy vethalai-seeval (betel and areca, his only addiction) for me any more.” It was his turn to gape.

I think he merged with Krishna on Ashtami after writing a dozen verses on Him the previous night.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 10:36:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/mohan-wanted-everyone-to-be-happy/article27898859.ece

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