Director Johny Antony was feeling tense. It was an early morning shoot, on the outskirts of Kochi, for CID Moosa (2003). There was a sequence where Moosa, played by Dileep, was exercising next to his German Shepherd dog, Arjun. Suddenly, Arjun was supposed to see a beautiful female dog and chase her into the jungle. The problem was that Johny had not been able to locate the second dog. But he did not want to upset Dileep, so he kept quiet about it. Instead, he decided to shoot some other sequences.
“As we were coming to the end of those scenes, I thought to myself, ‘If I could get another dog now, it would be nice’,” says Johny.
At that moment, Johny saw a man going on an early morning jog accompanied by a dog. Immediately, he told one of his assistants to approach the man, and to ask him whether he would allow his dog to be included in the film. “The man readily agreed,” says Johny. “Thankfully, the dog behaved perfectly. So, we were able to complete the shoot in an hour.”
Johny pauses, and says, “Sometimes, during a shoot, luck plays a big role. And that was what happened in this film.” Of course, the luck held, as CID Moosa became a super-duper hit.
Another film which did well was Cycle (2008), which starred Vineeth Sreenivasan. In the film, Vineeth, along with his friend, Vinu Mohan, steal a bag of money from a private financing company, of which the former is an employee. They are chased by a group of villains, including Jagathy, the late Cochin Haneefa, Sai Kumar and Sadiq.
Vineeth removed the money and threw the bag into a lake. The villains, believing that the money was still inside, were supposed to step into the water and search for the bag under the water’s surface. The shoot was scheduled to take place at the Periyar River, near Aluva.But the night before, Cochin Haneefa said that he was unwell and would prefer not to duck under the water. So Johny told him to just stand in the water and pretend that he is lowering his head.
The next day, all the actors stood in the water. Johny then said, “Action” followed by “Okay, duck your head.”And to his surprise, Johny saw that Cochin Haneefa also dipped his head. When Haneefa came up to the surface, he burst out laughing. Then the veteran of more than 300 films told Johny, “Too many years of obeying the director! I could not stop myself from ducking my head when you told me to do so.”
Now, it was Johny’s turn to laugh.
In the just-released film, Thoppil Joppan, Johny had another chance to laugh. At the shoot, in the CMS College, Kottayam, in May, Mammootty decided to improvise the dialogue a bit.
He plays Joppan, a kabaddi player who becomes an alcoholic, to get over the pain of losing his lover, Annie, played by Andrea Jeremiah. As he talks about his pain, suddenly Mammootty says, “The bars have stopped, but not the beverages (This is a reference to the Kerala State Beverages Corporation which distributes liquor in the state).”
The crowd, at the location, burst into laughter when he said this. “I decided to put it in the film, because of this reaction,” says Johny. “And, sure enough, in the hall, the audience starts laughing when Mammootty says this dialogue.”