02 August, 2021

Masks Of Narcissus

Jabbar Patel's ‘Ambedkar' brings more national recognition to Kerala superstar Mammooty

Masks Of Narcissus
In the quirky world of Malayalam cinema, a star who shaves his moustache off doesn't remains in contention for long. So, when Mammooty grudgingly accepted the role of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, India's champion of Dalits, and "they so brutally and cruelly took my moustache away", it was a career move. It was a decision that didn't come easy, though it eventually won him a national award.

Film-maker Jabbar Patel first went to Chennai to meet him armed with what Mammooty remembers as "a script that was bigger than the Bible". The star turned down the offer saying that historical figures may be great roles to play, but they have to come with a moustache. Says he: "There was no way I could show my face in Kerala if I shaved." But strangely, the producers of the Malayalam films he was working on agreed to adjust dates and asked him not to refuse Patel's offer. And for a man who is believed to have streaked down the roads of Ernakulam as a college student for a hefty bet, challenges are meant to be taken head on.

So, the prized role, which Patel admits he had first "casually...

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