Most of the lead characters that T A Shahid created were rebellious in nature. Be it the most popular among the lot ‘Rajamanikyam’ or the mass heroes Pulikkattil Charley (‘Naatturajavu’) and Vadakkanveettil Kochukunju (‘Thanthonni’), they have the same trait.
Likewise, are the family heroes penned by him, including Balettan and Puthanpurackal Chandran (‘Mambazhakkalam’), who became victims of filial knots.
It was in early 2005 that director Ranjith announced a project with Mammootty based on the script of Shahid. Mammootty was essayed to play the title character of a buffalo merchant, Rajamanikyam.
Later, Ranjith backed out from the project and Anwar Rasheed was given the opportunity to make his debut ‘Rajamanikyam’ (2005). The film became one of the top grossers in Malayalam cinema.
Shahid in an interview narrated how he found the character Rajamanikyam. Once while sitting at the Shoranur Guest House, he saw a Mercedes Benz car entering the gate. He looked out curiously and saw a man clad in a glowing kurtha and mundu with rings shining in all his fingers. Shahid later came to know that it was Khalla Moitheen, a merchant from north Kerala. Moitheen was the driving force behind Rajamanikyam.
The majority of the characters that he created were those whom he met in his day-to-day life. His brother, a benevolent person who always loved to share the liabilities of his dear ones and forget to live for himself helped him in carving Balettan. “I still remember the first day we met. Shahid told me that he wanted to discuss some story ideas. I was doing the movie ‘Kanmashy’. I invited him to the sets of the movie. There we discussed the thread of a movie. I agreed to do the project,” said director V M Vinu. Later, Shahid got another project, his maiden venture ‘Matsaram’.
“The release of ‘Matsaram’ had to be postponed several times. During that interval, we met again. He developed the thread that we discussed earlier and that was how ‘Balettan’ was born,” he added.
Vinu recalls that Shahid’s greatest strength was his ability to create commercial entertainers without compromising on the quality. “He knew the pulse of the audience from the front to the last rows,” he added.
Shahid was planning a major comeback during his last days. He told me about his plans to make a strong comeback and hinted to me about a subject for Mohanlal. But destiny has written another script for him,” he added.