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'Beautiful is inspired by a wheelchair-bound schoolmate'

Last updated on: December 13, 2011 11:20 IST
A scene from Beautiful

With the unexpected success of Beautiful, Anoop Menon has become the toast of the town overnight. He acts in Beautiful, directed by V K Prakash, and is the scriptwriter as well. 

On the sets of Veendum Kannur, his upcoming movie as an actor under the baton of director Haridas, he talks about how Beautiful came into being and how a one-line script developed organically, scene-by-scene, on the sets.

He also dwells in detail on what it's like donning multiple caps.

Tell us about how Beautiful came into being.

It is an interesting story. I had a school mate who was wheelchair bound (the school scene used in the film is straight out of my life) and in one of our relentless cinematic pursuits, Jayasurya (who plays the lead in the film) asked me, 'Can you give me a disabled character who cannot even move a limb and has to emote with his face and voice only?'

So my school memory and Jayasurya's passion for doing such a role coalesced to give birth to the character of Stephen Louis.

'I completed the one-line script in two days in Goa'

Last updated on: December 13, 2011 11:20 IST
A scene from Beautiful

Did you do any research to create this person who is a quadriplegic?

To be honest, I did not do any kind of research for the character. I was not interested in the day-to-day life of the quadriplegic. I was more interested in capturing the spirit behind a locked body. If we look around, such people are the real inspiration -- they are the ones we should look up to. I want to tell people who are lamenting about not having the desired car, to look at the positive side of life.

I completed the one-line script in two days during a school reunion in Goa, where it was raining and there was a lot of merrymaking.

The complete scenes were written when we were on the sets. In fact, VKP (director V K Prakash) was so anxious the first day that he threatened to stop the shoot if we didn't have the full script. I somehow convinced him that I'd give him two scenes for the day and then it went on like that.

'I did not do any research for the film'

Last updated on: December 13, 2011 11:20 IST
A scene from Beautiful

Even the songs you wrote for the film were a happy accident, it seems.

Yes, you can say that. Ratheesh (music director Ratheesh Vegha) came on the sets with the tune and started humming it and VKP said he could not make any sense of it.

He asked me to put some words to it. I went into Ratheesh's car and wrote whatever came to my mind and Jayasurya and VKP liked what they read, and said they'd keep it.

Were you apprehensive about how the 'in-your-face' humour would be taken by people?

Not at all. I use straight humour; I don't use double-meaning dialogues and I think people appreciate that. In fact, when I was adapting Cocktail, we had a 12-page scene for the climax.

In the original, there was just a politically incorrect word uttered by Pierce Brosnan (Cocktail was adapted from the English movie Butterfly on a Wheel). But on the whole, the film worked even if it dealt with the taboo subject of extra-marital affairs.

'I don't interfere with other people's vision'

Last updated on: December 13, 2011 11:20 IST
A scene from Beautiful

How do you approach writing? How is it different writing a self-indulgent Pakal Nakshatrangal to writing an entertaining Beautiful?

It is not like that. I don't have to be in different mindsets to write in different styles. The subject decides the form.
While writing Pakal Nakshatrangal, I was on a trip. I am fascinated with the literary language and wanted to use such language. The film still has a huge fan following in the web world because of the kind of language the characters speak.

Whatever you write should come straight from the heart, whether I am writing in literary form or in entertaining form.

You're a writer who also acts. Do you find it difficult to act out scenes written by other writers?

Once I have committed to acting in a film, I switch off as a writer. I don't interfere with other people's vision because they are coming from a different background and have a different value system. So, I just act out what is given to me by them.

'I am not against marriage'

Last updated on: December 13, 2011 11:20 IST
A scene from Beautiful

You seem like a very intense and romantic person. How come you are still a bachelor? Are you against marriage?

My being a bachelor doesn't mean that I am against marriage. Marriage is a lovely institution and I love watching couples walking into the horizon hand-in-hand even after thirty years of living together, but that is a rarity.

Of all the things you do, what do you love the most?

I just love everything I do. I believe in living in the moment and I don't plan the future. I love the acting part, as well as the writing part, as well as being interviewed by you!