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Dileep's stroke of luck
November 01, 2003 18:58 IST
Leading directors Priyadarshan and Joshi have opted for Dileep, a bankable star for comedies, for their next projects in Malayalam.
What makes their decision unusual is the fact that Priyadarshan has worked with Mohanlal in most of his films, while Mammootty has always been Joshi's first choice.
While Priyan's latest movie Kilichundan Mampazham bombed at the box office, Joshi's Dubai and Praja also finished on a disastrous note. This could be the reason why both directors are reshuffling their cards in an attempt to produce another mighty hit.
Dileep, who is already being hailed as a superstar, knows he still has some way to go before he enters the big league as he hasn't had a single role of substance that would challenge the might of a Mohanlal or a Mammootty. Besides, the debacle of some of his recent movies like Gramaphone, Sadananthante Samayam and Mizhi Randilum, where the doses of comedy were relatively lesser, shows that his fans are reluctant to accept him in a mature role.
This must be a worrisome signal for the actor. Suresh Gopi reached superstar status after the success of action flicks like Commissioner, Ekalavyan, Lelam, etc. However, his macho image and his repetitive roles as commissioners and underworld dons has cost him dear -- there are hardly any takers for him now.
The new film will be Dileep's first solo hero role in a Priyadarshan movie (he had earlier done a supporting role in Megham). His ease with comedy and his ability to successfully imitate Mohanlal in comedy scenes (Dileep started his career as a mimicry artist) might work for Priyan.
Comedy has been both Priyan's and Dileep's forte and their association is being viewed with great interest by the Malayalam film industry. If they deliver a hit, it will be significant on several counts: Priyan hasn't delivered a single hit without Mohanlal in Malayalam, though he did try out a couple of movies with Mammootty.
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The Lal-Priyan duo have had all-time hits like Kilukkam, Chithram, Thalavattam, Thenmavin Kombattu, Aryan and Chandralekha to their credit. However, their magic seems to be waning after the debacle of Kilichundan Mampazham. But the relatively lesser known V M Vinu's Onam movie Balettan provided Lal with a timely hit and helped him regain the No 1 spot, piping Mammootty's Pattalam and Dileep's Mizhi Randilum, which was a washout.
Dileep's Joshi project is named Runway; he had earlier done a supporting role in Joshi's Sainyam. Joshi is renowned for action movies and has to his credit hits like New Delhi, Sangham and Nair Saab, all of which starred Mammootty.
Initial reports indicated Runway would be action-oriented. Now, the grapevine says several comedy scenes have been introduced to satisfy Dileep fans.
The fate of these two movies might well decide whether Dileep could make an entry into the superstar league.
Irrespective of the outcome of his movie with Dileep, Priyadarshan (after the success of Hungama, he has many
offers from Bollywood as well) is on a strong wicket. He is still regarded as Malayalam cinema's best technician and has the knack to turn even ordinary scripts into superhits. Moreover, he can fall back on his all-time favourite Mohanlal, who has emerged stronger after Balettan. The duo have already made plans to work together next year.
For Joshi, however, his Dileep starrer could be the acid test as far as his survival in the Malayalam movie industry is concerned.
Setback for Renjith
Scriptwriter-turned-director Renjith, who emerged as a leading director after Ravana Prabhu and Nandanam, has
suffered a big setback this Onam with Mizhi Randilum failing to evoke a positive response at the box office.
Renjith, who has a penchant for double roles, scripted a female-oriented subject with Kavya Madhavan in a double
role. Though the movie also starred Dileep -- who was originally slated to do a guest role, but eventually became one of the heroes -- Mizhi Randilum turned out to be a damp squib.
Apart from Kamal, who scored again with Swapnakoodu, all other biggies including Renjith and Lal Jose fared poorly
in the Onam race.
Lal Jose's (of Meesa Madhavan fame) much-hyped Mammootty movie Pattalam was the biggest disappointment this Onam; it managed to finish only a notch above Mizhi Randilum.
Interestingly, the clear winners were Balettan's director V M Vinu, who hasn't had a major hit under his belt, and
debutant scriptwriter T A Shahid. The duo gave superstar Mohanlal a hit after a gap of almost two years.
Compiled by Pradeep Adur