When they first stepped into comedian-turned-director Nadir Shah’s flat at Kochi, Vishnu Unnikrishnan and Bibin George say that they did not even know how to narrate a story. All they had was a script with humorous tidbits of things they “saw, heard and experienced.”
They sat with Nadir Shah, whom they knew for a long time, and read the script. By the end of the two-hour long session, Nadir Shah gave them the thumbs-up for their three-year long effort. They would make a debut in the Malayalam movie industry by penning ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ that would also mark the debut of Nadir Shah as a director.
Now that the movie, which was released last week, is running to packed houses, Vishnu says they couldn’t have asked for a better debut. “We still can’t come to terms with the whole thing. My phone has been ringing incessantly,” says Vishnu. Bibin George shares the joy. “It is all divine intervention. Things fell into place and we got a wonderful debut. It’s great that we could associate with the doyens of the industry,” says Bibin.
The duo has had a decade-old friendship that began on mimicry stages during youth festivals.
They met when they were 12. Both are from Kochi and studied together at Maharaja’s College. “We went on to form a mimics troupe called the ‘Hollywood Entertainer’ which performed all over the state,” says Vishnu.
After that, both went their separate ways for a while - Bibin focused on writing for comedy programmes on TV while Vishnu did a few miniscule roles - but decided to work together for a movie script.
“Humour is our forte and we wanted our movie to be something that a family could enjoy. We also wanted it to be fresh, clean and, above all, laced with a social message,” says Bibin.
But there was one thing they secretly craved for: they wanted to play the lead roles, as well. But Vishnu adds they quickly woke to the fact that if their movie wanted to hit the masses, they should probably go for poster faces.
“We met Jayasurya for the narration and he readily agreed. Then we spoke to Indrajith and Prithviraj. Actually, we were apprehensive when we met Prithviraj. We couldn’t believe that we were narrating the script to someone who had just listened to Mani Ratnam’s script. But he enjoyed it and, many times, broke into laughter. At the end, he signed and we were ecstatic,” says Vishnu.
Though they wanted their movie to be laced with humour, Vishnu and Bibin said their aim was to give a very important social message.
“It was the Soumya death incident that set us thinking. We felt today’s society did not have a social commitment.
“That’s when we decided to do a movie that gave a social message. Even humour can be a perfect tool to impart that,” says Bibin. Their gags do have the crowd erupting into laughter, but the duo says they are in no hurry to jump into another venture. “We want to take time to do our next project,” says Vishnu. “As of now, we are enjoying the sweet taste of success.”