Saturday 6 July 2019

Ta-dum-tish: 11 best introduction scenes in Malayalam cinema

Fahadh Faasil in Kumbalangi Nights, Dulquer Salmaan in CIA, Sai Pallavi in Premam and other perfect intro scenes that have stolen our hearts

A good intro scene is one that has the perfect balance of timing, music, emotion and build-up that is carried through to its crescendo – be that mellow or thunderous – in a perfect sequence. The best intro scene will be a good intro scene that steals our heart and walks away. Don’t believe it? Check out this list and let us know.

Fahadh Faasil in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum (2017): The camera stealthily leads us to his beautifully large eloquently brown eyes, veiled by his folded arms, as he silently, patiently gets to the business of stealing the sleeping heroine’s gold chain on a running bus. He clips it first and slowly rolls it around his finger, taps her one last time to make sure she is asleep and swiftly pulls it into his hands. Directed by Dileesh Pothan, framed masterfully by Rajeev Ravi and helped immensely by Fahadh Faasil’s hurt puppy eyes.

Fahadh Faasil in Kumbalangi Nights (2019): Shammi is staring at his reflection, with a towel wrapped around his waist in the bathroom mirror. He looks delirious, calm, smug and has a smile that creepily touches his mouth and rests on his eyes. Shammi quietly removes a bhindi and throws it in the wash basin. The character has already been smartly underlined here. Written by Syam Pushkaran, directed by Madhu C Narayanan, Shammi turns out to be the psycho villain in the film.

Dulquer Salmaan in CIA (2017): There are films which have stellar introduction scenes that quickly loses steam after that. Amal Neerad’s CIA that has a hero who travels all the way to USA to meet his lover on road is one such example. Dulquer Salmaan’s Ajippan is introduced in the middle of political mayhem, with the police charging in with lathis. The build-up to that scene is terrific—a stunning BGM begins and follows the hero (who has his mouth covered in a hankie), carrying a glass bottle filled with kerosene and throws it in the direction of the cops. It’s framed in such a way that it lends an almost super starry image to the otherwise boy next door actor called Dulquer Salmaan.

Dulquer Salmaan in Charlie (2015): It’s an intro that lives up to all that snazzy build-up to his character, whose name is revealed only in the end. Tessa (Parvathy) has rented a house somewhere in the middle of bustling Fort Kochi. It has quirky, colourful, messy interiors that also leaves fascinating reminders about its previous resident, prompting her to go in search of him. It’s when she is rummaging through a pile of books that he calls her on the land phone at night. You see his silhouette that defines his flamboyant personality. He starts with a Hindi verse, advices her to use all his belongings at her free well and ends with trademark loud laughter. Mysterious and intriguing enough for her (and us) to start her trail for sure.

Sai Pallavi in Premam (2015): It takes a minute to register when the lovely Malar miss steps into the frame. In a starched cotton sari, with a gentle smile, and her adorable Tamil, she quietly walks into the film and into our hearts.

Manju Warrier in Aaram Thampuran (1997): As Jagannathan slams open the temple doors, he is transfixed at the vision in a red sari, with long tresses and a beauteous face. She slowly makes her way to him, raising her brow questioningly. Unnimaya breaks his reverie with a plain and simple— “Who are you?” And we immediately fall under her spell.

Ithikkara Pakki in Kayamkulam Kochunni (2018): The timing cannot be faulted for a cameo. He comes a few minutes before the interval. The background score is reminiscent of Clint Eastwood’s cowboy Western films. As a hooded figure gallops to the screen on a horse to rescue the dying Kochunni, the audience anticipating the entry has already gone into raptures. Ithikkara Pakki has just entered the scene and the man playing the character in a matter of seconds lionises over the hero of the film, Kayamkulam Kochunni (Nivin Pauly). Pakki gets the best introduction, best lines and is played by one of the most charismatic actors in Malayalam cinema, Mohanlal. The minute Pakki leaves the scene, the film loses its steam.

Mohanlal in Twenty-20 (2008): Technically, Mohanlal has entered the frame in this Joshiy directed multi-starrer. But for his legion of delirious fans, the patented “mass” entry guaranteed to give an adrenaline rush, happens a few scenes later, as he, Devaraja Prathapa Varma, unveils his volte-face. As he walks away from court, amidst a mounting robust BGM, Lal leisurely picks up his mundu, slips into a pair of shoes and rolls back his sleeves. Mammootty, the other superstar of the film, watches the transformation in utter disbelief, lending an all-time high to an average Lal fan.

Mammootty in Big B (2007): Amal Neerad’s debut also set a precedent for such stunning superstar introduction scenes later on. It’s a brilliantly played out sequence that introduces the protagonist, Bilal John Kurishingal, in the film. In this story about four brothers, it’s when they come to the eldest that the build-up starts to pick up. From being a “solid terror for cops” to a “loner” to Mary teacher’s favourite, Bilal’s SUV is already in focus. And then comes torrential rain and stylish BGM. The SUV stops, booted legs slowly step out to a splash of water. In a bandana and a thick jacket, one immediately gets that towering, inscrutable presence of the man!

Nivin Pauly in Ohm Shanthi Oshana (2014): It’s hardly the entry one expects in a mushy rom-com. As the heroine struggles to get out of the clutches of an eve-teaser, our man enters, gliding through a water ride—soaked to the bones but arrestingly handsome. Nivin Pauly, the quiet charmer, had arrived.

Jayasurya in Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeeviyanu (2015): Just for the audacity of giving such an unusual hero an equally quirky intro, this one finds a spot here. Everything happens in perfectly timed slow motion—Shaji Pappan pops a paan into his mouth, ties-up his red mundu, slips into his black shoes and runs towards the screen!  And we nearly fall off the chair!

(Source: Film Companion)

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