The script writer in Benny P Nayarambalam had a rare birth, in a hospital, while he was a final year B Com student. His entry to the world of reels was made possible by an actor who was reeling in pain after breaking his leg in an accident at a hospital at Cherthala.
Listening to the hilarious scenes read out by Benny, the bed-ridden Rajan P Dev couldn’t stop laughing his stomach out as the actor readily selected the play of the season for his troupe Jubilee Theatres.
The play, ‘Athyunnathangalil Deivathinu Sthuthi’ (Praise the lord in heavens!) became an instant hit and Benny had to keep his post graduate studies away for a while as he was occupied with acting in addition to writing.
“My first play was based on the experiences narrated by my father and soon I was assigned to write another one. Thus I started off with two plays in the same season,” Benny P Nayarambalam recalls his initial days as a script writer.
With his third play,the most sought after dramatist became the lead actor. “I played the role of Radhakrishnan in 'Arabikkadalum Adbhutha Vilakkum’ (Arabian sea and the magic lamp) which was later essayed by Dileep in ‘Chanthupottu’. I stopped acting as advised by family members because life without any rest had turned me into a patient. Two years later I joined MA Malayalam Language and Literature while my first film ‘First Bell’ was almost finished.” he says. Though he finished the course, the festival season came as villain and he started writing plays instead of the final exam.
Though ‘First Bell’, a laugh riot, was a runaway hit, he chose to keep away from the film world as the first chapters at the dreamworld were hard to digest. “I chose to concentrate on the stage as I was denied proper credits at the onset of my film career. I was flooded with offers and used to write five six plays in a season. This continued till ‘Manthramothiram’, my first film with Dileep which went well and ‘Junior Mandrake’, a low budget flick which turned out to be a surprise hit,” says the writer of 43 plays.
With his experience in theatre, Benny could often predict the reaction of audience to his films. “I am often faced with a question why my films are being remade into other languages. This happens as I am not inspired by any foreign film for my scripts. I read books and observe people as I did right from my childhood days”, he says with pointer to the recent prodigies who continue to make films at short intervals.
Four of his films were remade into other Indian languages and the latest entrant is ‘Kamal, Dhamal, Malamal’, a remake of the super hit ‘Marykkundoru Kunjaadu’. Though the rights of ‘Chanthupottu’ and ‘Annan Thampi’ were sold the projects did not happen. “We learned that no actor could portray the lead role in ‘Chanthupottu’ as Dileep did.”
Though his plays were equated by many to films of Sathyan Anthikkad for the presence of villagers and background, they could work as a team only in ‘Puthiya Theerangal’, as the latter turned to writing scripts.
“This was a film which we followed the story instead of hero. The film revolves around the bond between an old man and a young woman who lost her father, along with a love story against the backdrop of a village on the sea shore. There is a mystery around the character played by Nedumudi Venu and it provides the suspense.” he says.
On the style of new genre films in Malayalam the ace writer says, “Their style may go well with the youngsters who may have a liking for obscene dialogues. But families comprising parents and kids will not be uncomfortable with that style. We cater to families.”
He also clarifies his stand on the recent trends in Malayalam films: “I believe that there should be an element of virtue in art forms which entertain the public. This may be the reason for the directors, with whom I was associated once, coming back to me.”
At present, Benny P Nayarambalam is working on his 25th film script with director Vaisakh who has made his earlier three films into big hits. Dileep who is in the lead will produce the film slated for a Vishu release.