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MENTORS AS SAVIOURS IN CRISIS…

‘To err is human, to forgive divine’, and to help someone come out of the prick of conscience is something beyond! Sometimes, one may be forced to commit a mistake in one’s attempt to find the purpose of one’s life, though the cost of such a mistake may often be quite consequential. Here I pick

‘To err is human, to forgive divine’, and to help someone come out of the prick of conscience is something beyond! Sometimes, one may be forced to commit a mistake in one’s attempt to find the purpose of one’s life, though the cost of such a mistake may often be quite consequential.

Here I pick two favourite sequences from the silver screen of crime and lapse and the role ‘mentors’ played in covering them up, protecting the careers of some promising youngsters!

Rewind to 1987. We had Dr. P K Haridas played by Mohanlal in the movie ‘Amrutham Gamaya’, scripted by M T Vasudevan Nair and directed by Hariharan. A medical student with excellent potential, Haridas ends up causing the death of his junior Unnikrishnan (played by Vineeth), during a ragging session in medical college. This is a very haunting scene of the movie, but the sequence that follows is more riveting.

As Unni’s body lies on the hostel floor and all of Hari’s friends who were involved in this horrific incident escape from the scene, a senior professor who stays in the hostel rushes to the spot. The camera suddenly cuts to the professor’s feet where Hari is prostrating begging for his help. Not many words exchanged and no more scenes showing intrigue, but it’s clear that the professor helped Hari come out of the case. A very brief yet powerful role of the professor essayed by Karamana Janardhanan Nair, and his chemistry with Mohanlal is also brilliant.

The incident, however, completely changes Hari as he becomes a highly empathetic medical officer wedded to ethics. Later, Haridas meets the devastated family of Unnikrishnan and realises the depth of the trauma his deed had caused. Tormented by this incident, Hari resorts to use of drugs. At this juncture his professor appears before him again, advising him what best he can do at that moment.

The script brings up one of the most poignant expressions of guilt. While the main thread of the movie deals with a young doctor who tries to correct his own mistake, supporting the family of Unnikrishnan who died due to his wrongdoing and helping Unni’s sister become a doctor, what is more touching is the way the mentor (professor) helps bring the protagonist back to life.

There are reflections of this in corporate life as well. We’ve seen very enterprising and talented youngsters committing grave mistakes and their mentors showing presence of mind to save these talents from the potential consequences.

The silver screen witnessed such a role of the mentor again in 2012 in ‘Ayaalum Njaanum Thammil.’ This was Dr. Samuel (Prathap Pothen), who tells Dr. Ravi Tharakan (Prithviraj) how he had put his ethics at stake to save the latter’s career. This scene and its prelude is another beautiful portrayal of mentor-mentee relationship on screen.

Dr. Ravi is one of the junior doctors who finds it very difficult to get along with Dr. Samuel, a strict senior doctor. Ravi’s one last attempt to unite with his girlfriend before she gets married is spoiled by an arrogant police officer, Purushothaman, by delaying Ravi’s journey. A few days later, when Ravi realises that the patient on his casualty bed is the very same police officer’s child, he attempts to take revenge. The girl is finally saved by Dr. Samuel. The transformation from an angry policeman to a helpless father portrayed by Kalabhavan Mani is probably food for a later article!

Though he slaps Ravi in the face for the negligence he showed, Dr. Samuel testifies in front of the medical council in such a way as to save Ravi’s career. This incident changes Ravi’s attitude. He discovers the purpose of his life and comes out as a fine medical professional. The story does justice to its title – Ayaalum Njaanum Thammil (Between him and me).

These are my two favourite portrayals of mentors saving future careers of youngsters. The pattern is that such mentors remain mostly very modest, maybe that is what the situation demands. We have seen in real life people committing crimes and simply walk away from them, even recently. The key characters in the two stories that I narrated were doctors, too. Maybe some sort of an irony!

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