In 1987, Mollywood got its first taste of the rather difficult-yet-poetic dialect of Thrissur when Jayakrishnan - played by a Thiruvananthapuram-born Mohanlal - mouthed it in P Padmarajan’s Thoovanathumbikal. When the actor asked his friend ‘nammuk oru narangavellam kachiyalo’ (Let’s have lime juice), we knew Thrissur had arrived.
Ever since, the town and its rustic dialect continue to be the most bankable elements in the box office. In recent times, Thrissur’s most popular appearance was in Ranjith’s Pranchiyettan and the Saint (2010). With an unbelievable finesse, Mammootty brought alive the character 'Ari Pranchy' and the Thrissur slang with utmost perfection. The box office success of the movie and the fan base it garnered proved Thrissur had just made a comeback and more were on the anvil.
This year, we had Georgettan’s Pooram that focused on a bunch of friends in Thrissur. The town, including its accent and customs, was always on the background of this Dileep-starrer that director K Biju said it was so important to the storyline, like the actors.
Set to hit the marqee soon are Asif Ali-starrer Thrissuvaperoor Kliptham and Diwanji Moola Grand Prix. Both movies are shot entirely in Thrissur and share the flavour of the town.
Director Ranjith Sankar who made the hit movie Punyalan Agarbattis (2013), a story about a failed businessman in Thrissur, says it was nostalgia at work in his case.
“I was born and raised in Thrissur and wanted to make a movie on the town. While I don’t think there is a ‘Thrissur trend’ as such, I feel the town offers a large canvas for different stories because it is all about celebrations.
The people here celebrate their life and the Pooram is an icon,” he says. But, Ranjith thinks one reason why Thrissur is so frequently portrayed in movies could be because many directors and artists hail from there.
Actor Jayasurya, who mouthed Thrissur slang in Punyalan Agarbattis with conviction, will do it again for Sajid Yahya’s Thrissur Pooram that will go on the floors by the end of the year.
“Thrissur Pooram is a gangster movie. Perhaps, Thrissur might be the only place in Kerala where the most number of murders happen for friendship. It denotes how emotional the people are when it comes to relationships. My movie share the same flavour,” he adds. He too thinks Thrissur has a certain charm to it that draws in filmmakers.
Former Kozhikode Collector Prasanth Nair, who is turning a scriptwriter with Diwanji Moola Grand Prix, says his movie couldn’t have happened anywhere but in Thrissur.
“It is not just about the dialect or Pooram, though my movie features Pooram in all its glory. Diwanji Moola Grand Prix is a story that cannot be placed anywhere else. It is about the place, the people, their urban legends and life. It is their culture,” he says. Prasanth says not many towns or city can boast of a Pan-Kerala appeal that Thrissur has.
While Mohanlal and Mammootty has proved Thrissur slang comes to them easily, the new crop of actors including Dileep, Jayasurya and Kunchako Boban, too handle it well.