Invite Mammootty on a stage and the audience would listen to him in rapt attention for he speaks even more elegantly in real life than he does in reel.
He has always surprised his audience with his witty speeches, his varied interests in world affairs and his open mindedness towards the new and young ones in the film industry. Quite a few debutant directors have enjoyed his support and encouragement as they took baby steps into the big world of cinema.
One of the most appreciated filmmakers in Malayalam today, Blessy, has on numerous occasions cited the story of how the actor made it possible for him to be a scriptwriter.
“When I was doing my first film Kazcha, I had approached different people for scriptwriting. It was Mammootty who told me to write it the same way I had narrated the story to him. If it was not for him, I would probably not have known the taste of scriptwriting. We don’t just discuss films that I do with him. We talk about all my movies — be it Kazhcha, Thanmathra, Brahmaram or Pranayam. He is like a brother.”
Martin Prakkat also owes it to Mammootty for discovering his filmmaking skills. “To this day, I have no idea how he found out about it. I was a photographer who had interest in filmmaking. Only a couple of my friends knew about this. But Mammootty somehow learnt about it,” says the director of Best Actor.
“I have always felt he treats me with special care. Maybe that is the way everyone who has worked with him feels.”
It is indeed the way every newcomer, even those who haven’t worked with him, feels. Says Arun Kumar Aravind, director of critically acclaimed film Cocktail, “He saw it on the day the film was released and told the producer Milan Jaleel that he was very happy about the movie. His family saw it two or three times. Later when I met him in the sets of his film August 15, he encouraged me to bring out more such new and interesting themes. Mammootty has always encouraged new thoughts in cinema.”