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Role Reversals: Some Glittering Examples

    When Fahadh Faasil said, “Shammi Hero aanedaa, Hero”, in Kumbalangi Nights, it became an emphatic statement on the new trend in Malayalam movie industry – the character is the hero and there are no stereotypes. I would say, it was still easy for Fahadh since he had already done the anti-hero in 22 Female Kottayam.

    When Fahadh Faasil said, “Shammi Hero aanedaa, Hero”, in Kumbalangi Nights, it became an emphatic statement on the new trend in Malayalam movie industry – the character is the hero and there are no stereotypes. I would say, it was still easy for Fahadh since he had already done the anti-hero in 22 Female Kottayam.

    I have always felt that it is a difficult job for a comedian to attempt a villain’s role; first, they need to shed their image and then, get into the villain’s skin. But there are some who have done that superbly and with ease.

    Let us do a reverse chronology: SreenathBhasi and SoubinShahir played villains in Parava; Sharafudheen and Vijilesh played extremely irritating stalkers in Varathan. Compare it with the GirirajanKozhi image of Sharaf – that change would have been tough for him.

    Role reversals are quite common and we have seen the trend of villains becoming comedians over a period of time – Janardhanan, Cochin Haneefa, Bheeman Raghu and T G Ravi are all examples of strong villains shedding their image and doing rib-tickling stuff. This has been a gradual affair and probably the age factor would have also influenced this change. But one thing is for sure; they all became extremely likeable comedians.

    One such notable transformation from the fun side to the baddy side was JagathySreekumar’s performance in Urumi as ChenicheryKurup, a minister who is a slow poison to the royal family!

    Remember LazerMuthalaali of Keli? Innocent did the portrayal of the villain here who ended up planning a murder. These two men also do need a special mention for doing two roles that border on villainy, but not too harsh yet. I am talking about the brutally honest ShankarankuttyMenon in Mahavilkavadi portrayed by Innocent and the wicked-minded BhageerathanPillai in MeesaMadhavanplayed by Jagathy.

    To complete the list, let us also include Kalabhavan Mani’s CI Natesan in Chotta Mumbai, KalabhavanShajon’s Constable Sahadevan in Drishyam and Tini Tom’s Alex achayan in Beautiful.

    But, for those who haven’t forgotten his amazing talent, someone who tops the list is AdoorBhasi. Till date, one of the finest transformations to negative roles was also made by this stalwart – rewind to the 1978 Mollywood movie Nakshathrangale Kaaval by Padmarajan. He plays the role of a creepy father-in-law whose moral side stoops to abysmal levels. Those who watched this performance couldn’t imagine that Bhasi had been doing slapstick comedy!

    Did I just add more movie names to your watch list!?


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