An engineer by qualification, an artist by interest and humorist by birth. That is Crazy Mohan for you.
Jack of all trades, master of fun
Meet Crazy Mohan: playwright, comedian, wannabe director
The actor is currently touring the US until June 16 with his stage productions Jurassic Baby and Madhil Mel Maadhu.
In-between performances in Boston, Albany, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Atlanta, New Jersey and Canada, Mohan spoke to Lavanya Rao about being the entertainer:
Tell us about Jurassic Baby and Madhil Mel Maadhu. How did you begin writing?
Jurassic Baby is about a monstrous baby and Madhil Mel Maadhu [Maadhu On The Wall] is about an individual stuck between the devil and the deep sea. I am an engineer by profession. Writing, however, became a channel to enhance my persona and it is something I cherish.
I started writing in 1967. The first play I wrote for Natakapriya in 1976 was Crazy Thieves In Paalavaakkam. I also wrote scripts for Tenant Commandments and One More Exorcist.
Was acting a childhood passion too?
I actively participated in the stage shows in college. I never thought I would come this far.
How did Crazy Creations, your theatre troupe, come into existence?
After writing for other productions, I decided to start my own troupe. Crazy Creations was established in 1979. We did shows like Allaudin And 100 Watts Bulb, followed by Marriage Made In Saloon, Maadhu+2 and Meesai Aanaalum Manaivi. All these plays have been staged for over 400 times.
On an average, we perform 32 shows a month in Tamil Nadu [a southern Indian state] and neighboring states.
How did you manage to make the leap into the Tamil film world?
In 1984, director Balachandran wanted to make a films Poikkal Kudiarai [the cinematic version of Crazy Creations' play Marriage Made In Saloon), and wanted me to act in it. That is how I began my journey.
While doing stage shows, I enjoyed writing for Muktha Srinivasan's Katha Nayayanan. I also worked with Rajnikanth for Arunachalam and for Kavithalaya's Unnaai Cholli Kutramillai.
Most of your cinematic collaborations have been with Kamal Haasan. Any special reason?
Kamal and I share a common 'sense of humour'. It is very easy to work with another person whose passion is also to make people laugh. I have done quite some writing for Kamal and most of those films have fared well. Aboorva Sahodharargal, Indran Chandran (remade in Telugu as Indrudu Chandrudu), Michael Madana Kaamarajan, Magalir Mattum, Sathi Leelavathi, Avvai Shanmughi, Kaadala Kaadala and Thenali.
Pammal K Sambandham, starring Kamal, Simran and Abbas, was a joint venture effort too.
Have stage shows now lost out to the fast growing commercial cinema?
Not really. Our shows are jam-packed wherever we go. In Tamil Nadu people still enjoy coming to stage shows. We have also performed in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the US. And the feedback has remained the same. You can hear echoes of laughter.
Besides writing and acting, what else do you do?
I love to paint. Recently I have done a couple of pieces with a computer mouse as my paintbrush. They have turned out pretty nicely.
In 1987 I began producing TV serials Here is Crazy and Kalyanathukku Kalyanam with over 600 episodes. I would also like to take up direction at some point. My goal is to be the Jack of all trades, Master of fun.
Now, I am working on the script for a new stage play called Crazy Ghost, which will open in August.