I find it liberating to work in sync sound: Mammootty

In his pursuit to keep evolving as an actor, Mammootty has been taking up some interesting projects of late.

Published: 19th January 2023 07:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2023 07:34 AM   |  A+A-

Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam.

Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam.

By Express News Service

After an excellent 2022, where he flaunted his versatility and range in full glory, Mammootty is eyeing to continue the good form with Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam—his first release of 2023. As the Lijo Jose Pellissery directorial gears up to hit screens today, Mammootty, who is also the film’s producer, was recently part of an interesting exercise where he was interviewed by actor Miya George.

Here are some excerpts from the near 30-minute conversation.

Ever since it was announced that Mammootty and Lijo will be collaborating for a project, expectations were sky-high. “Lijo and I’ve been in talks for some time now. We had discussed a couple of other projects, but those demanded a bigger scale and weren’t viable at a time when the pandemic threat was looming large. That’s how we chose to do Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam.”

The hype for a Mammootty-Lijo film got real at this year’s IFFK, where Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam had its world premiere. Delegates thronged theatres in large numbers for hours to catch the film, which even led to a ruckus with the organisers. Powered by the overwhelming response, the film won the Rajata Chakoram award through an audience poll. Mammootty sees the IFFK response as a huge booster to continue doing such films. “It’s a sign of hope and also a testimony to the fact that Malayali audiences are eagerly waiting for such content. The onus is now on us, artists, to live up to their expectations.”

Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam (An Afternoon Dream) has Mammootty playing James, a Malayali family man, who slips into an afternoon nap and wakes up as a different person—Sundaram, a Tamilian. The actor, who is known for his incredible command over languages, found this Tamil-Malayalam hybrid attempt exciting. “I genuinely have an interest in languages and the various dialects. In this film, Sundaram speaks in a certain local dialect. Since we were using sync sound, it was an extra challenge for me to get the diction right. I managed most of it, but we still had to dub a few portions. It was director Ram who helped us with the corrections.”

Though Malayalam cinema is yet to have a firm grip over the usage of sync sound, Mammootty is a strong advocate of employing the technique as he believes that it makes an actor’s performance complete. “I first worked in sync sound in Kandukondain Kandukondain, where we shot a few portions. I think Loudspeaker was my first full-fledged attempt. I find it liberating to work in sync sound as it helps in conveying emotions accurately by capturing even the slightest of nuances. While performing, our body emits certain sounds, which add a lot to authenticity. It’s hard to recreate that in a dubbing studio. That’s why I prefer real-time sound more.”

The promos of Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam have Mammootty in an unglamorous avatar perfectly in sync with the film’s setting. Despite all these years of experience, the multiple National-award winner is still excited about the whole ‘getting into the skin of a character’. Elaborating on his process, the veteran says, “Every person has some peculiar trait. It might be the way they walk or talk. I always try to bring in some sort of distinctness to a character. Sometimes it might take 2-3 days to crack it. For example, it took some time for me to get the walk in Kasaba right. But that’s the fun of it. You can always improvise.”

In his pursuit to keep evolving as an actor, Mammootty has been taking up some interesting projects of late. He has Christopher, an investigative thriller with director B Unnikrishnan; Kaathal, a social drama with Jeo Baby and cinematographer Roby Varghese Raj’s directorial debut coming up. Besides that, Mammootty will also be seen in a prominent role in the Telugu spy-thriller Agent starring Akhil Akkineni as the lead.


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