Bumping into the Gillappies

The other half of the Gilappi, Merin is also a familiar figure for Malayalis thanks to his role ‘Maramkothi’ in the film Angamaly Diaries.
Anchakkallakokkan by Ullas Chemban, an investigative thriller with mythical elements, is set in 1986 in a village named Kalahasti.
Anchakkallakokkan by Ullas Chemban, an investigative thriller with mythical elements, is set in 1986 in a village named Kalahasti.

KOCHI : When the Gillappies enter the scene, kicking and dancing, accompanied by the pulsing music, one cannot take their eyes off the frame. The movie

Anchakkallakokkan by Ullas Chemban, an investigative thriller with mythical elements, is set in 1986 in a village named Kalahasti.

And to Kalahasti comes the Gillappies who are unique in their looks and ways, riding on a Yamaha bike, one dancing, the other ready to draw some blood. Everyone is talking about this duo played by Praveen T J as the younger Gilappi and Merin Jose, as the elder one, after watching the experimental flick.

Ullas says he creates characters based on his experiences. “It’s someone I know,” he says about Gillappies too.

“I created the characters based on my experiences, aiming for uniqueness. I wanted the audience to feel that regardless of their behaviour and appearance, their capacity for violence matters. These characters were outsiders in the village and quite modern for that period. Perhaps they were listening to Boney M or Michael Jackson, which influenced their appearance,” Ullas reminisces.

“Praveen’s character is portrayed as someone who doesn’t speak much, someone who communicates sparingly. Merin, on the other hand, has a different way of talking. What truly matters is their readiness for violence. As a hardcore Tarantino fan, I believe some elements from his work may have influenced me as well,” Ullas explains.

Praveen, the 25-year-old originally from Idukki, was recently back in action, mesmerising everyone with his remarkable performance in the recently released Amazon web series Poacher, considerably different from his dancing, vibrant, yet violent, role in Anchakkallakokkan.

“Only the first portion was choreographed,” he says about the scene that sets him apart in the movie. “The rest was just me tuning into the song. I don’t have much experience in dancing, but I managed it somehow, and it just clicked,” he smiles.

His entry into films was unexpected. While on duty as an NCC cadet, the casting director of Kammattipaadam, Anju Mohandas took a picture of him and called him for an audition. The movie opened a new door for Praveen. The youngster also owns a production house in Ernakulam that engages in theatre, music, scriptwriting, and much more. And the youngster has signed up for a few more films, all untitled as of now.

The other half of the Gilappi, Merin is also a familiar figure for Malayalis thanks to his role ‘Maramkothi’ in the film Angamaly Diaries. The 30-year-old from Chalakudy has also acted in Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Ee.Ma.Yau and Jallikattu. His next project is titled Thekku Vadakku, by Prem Sankar.

“Working with Lijo and Ullas was a completely different experience,” Merin explains. “Ullas focuses more on explaining the character, while Lijo unleashes the actors. Everyone considers us the main characters of the story, and we have received great appreciation,” the actor says.

According to him, the main inspiration for the film was movies like ‘Pulp Fiction’. The duo have signed more works after their electrifying performances in Anchakkallakokkan, now set to take the Malayalam film industry by storm.

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