Mammootty looks to break away from stardom with upcoming releases Peranbu and Yatra
Another interesting fact is that both Peranbu and Yatra mark Mammootty’s return to Tamil and Telugu cinema after a long hiatus.
Popular Malayalam star Mammootty, who made his acting debut over four decades ago, is unarguably a flawless performer. With his ability to mould himself into the skin of any character effortlessly, he has delivered more memorable performances than anyone could remember.
Unlike most of his contemporaries, Mammootty has managed to stay relevant even today. Most of his best work is spread evenly across the years since he made his debut in a lead role. However, his form and choice of films in the last two and a half years has been a matter of concern. That is exactly why it is safe to assume that his forthcoming releases — Peranbu and Yatra – could be an exercise in reinventing and breaking away from his star-studded image.
In Ram-directed Peranbu, scheduled to release on 1 February, Mammootty plays the father of a physically challenged girl who rediscovers himself while trying to raise her. The film had its world premiere at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam last year and subsequently at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
Talking about the experience of working with Mammootty and commenting on his acting prowess, Ram told Firstpost, “I wouldn’t have made this film if Mammootty sir wasn’t interested. I had completed the script in 2009 and patiently waited because I was hell-bent on making this film with him. I couldn’t picture any other actor in the role of Amudhan, the character played by Mammootty. Audiences will see him in a role that’s unlike anything he’s done in recent times. They’ll find his role both emotional and challenging to portray. He’s an effortless performer. Audiences will be stunned by his versatility in the emotional scenes. Very few actors of his stature can really make roles like this work.”
After its premiere at Rotterdam, Peranbu garnered a lot of attention and won those over who watched the film at the festival. The film was raved for its honest and sensitive portrayal of the bond between a father and his daughter. The general consensus was that no other actor could have done the role with so much texture and finesse.
Mammootty will be seen playing YS Rajasekhar Reddy, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister in Mahi Raghav-directed Yatra, gearing up for a release on 8 February. Talking about roping in Mammootty for the role and why he was apt, Raghav said he was his first choice. “If you look at the history of biopics, filmmakers have always gone for unconventional choices. We could have had Amitabh Bachchan playing Bal Thackeray in his biopic but there’s a reason why Nawazuddin Siddiqui was chosen.”
Explaining with an example, Raghav said, “If I cast Nagarjuna in the titular role, it'll remind you of his rural films. You have an image of the kind of films he's done and you'll start comparing. Audiences won't surrender and see YSR in him. Mammootty’s last Telugu film was over two decades ago. One advantage with him is he gets the kind of aura that's unmatched. He can stand in a frame with Rajinikanth and still earn claps. Even when he walked with thousands of people, YSR could stand tall in the frame, thanks to his aura. I believe Mammootty brings such an aura to his screen presence. His charisma translates on the screen.”
Mammootty has dubbed in his own voice for the film. “He was very particular about dubbing in his voice. When I went to narrate the story, he asked me to read in Telugu and told me that he’d stop me if he doesn’t understand something. He’s really excited because he’s someone who follows politics religiously," said Raghav.
Another interesting fact is that both Peranbu and Yatra mark Mammootty’s return to Tamil and Telugu cinema after a long hiatus. With these two industries not being his core market, it makes sense why he did not mind reinventing and playing characters which he may not have taken up in Malayalam.
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