Dennis Joseph scripted a brand new chapter in Malayalam cinema

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Writer-director Dennis Joseph, who handed away on May 10, created a variety of characters and tales which have stood the check of time

If scenarist-director Dennis Joseph’s scripts topped Mohanlal and Mammootty as superstars of Malayalam movie trade, the author’s iconic characters will all the time give him a spot of satisfaction within the pantheon of Malayalam cinema. His scripts within the mid-eighties and nineties had been blockbusters which have gone to achieve cult standing in Mollywood.

The genial author, who handed away on May 10, was fondly remembered thus by Mohanlal in his Instagram account: “… Dennis was king of the scriptwriting world. Of the many characters, born as children of that king, I was among the fortunate to have been able to breathe life into some of them… So many thrilling stories that captivated the silver screen, intense emotional storms that unleashed waves of intense feelings, the fire of rage, the sweetness of romance, dialogues soaked in salty tears of pain…”

Poster of ‘New Delhi’, a Mammootty-starrer was written by Dennis Joseph and directed by Joshiy
 
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A flexible author, Dennis was at residence in numerous milieus. Be it thrillers like New Delhi, Rajavinte Makan, Bhoomiyile Rajakkanmaar and Gandharvam or dramas like Shyama and Akashadoothu. His early movies like Nirakkoottu, Rajavinte Makan, Bhoomiyile Rajakkanmaar and Shyama gave him a strong footing in filmdom. Later on, Dennis started experimenting and he made his directorial début with the much-beloved kids’s movie Manu Uncle, with Mammootty taking part in the titular function. It went on to win the National award for the very best kids’s movie in 1988. Mohanlal additionally did a cameo within the movie.

A missed alternative

In an episode of ‘Charitram Enniloode’, a sequence on on Safari TV, the veteran remembers how he regretted lacking an opportunity of working with Mani Ratnam, who needed him to jot down the script of Anjali. Soon after the discharge of New Delhi, Dennis says he received a name from actor Suhasini Mani Ratnam who informed him that Mani Ratnam was eager on assembly up with him. Dennis, a fan of Mani Ratnam, agreed and shortly the 2 grew to become associates. That was when Mani Ratnam requested Dennis to do the script of Anjali. But, Dennis says he couldn’t take up that provide as he needed to give you a script for Joshiy inside 4 days. The script for Joshiy was the evergreen No:20 Madras Mail . Dennis recounts with a smile that after Anjali was launched, Mani Ratnam known as him on the cellphone and informed him to look at the movie. Prabhu’s character, a damaging function, was known as Dennis Joseph in Anjali!

Poster of Mohanlal-starrer ‘Rajavinte Makan’, written by Dennis Joseph and directed by Thampi Kannanthanam

Poster of Mohanlal-starrer ‘Rajavinte Makan’, written by Dennis Joseph and directed by Thampi Kannanthanam  
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One of the memes paying homage to the author exhibits the totally different ‘Achayan’ characters Dennis created, all of whom hailed from the hilly areas of Kottayam and its neighborhood — Illickal Kuttapayi (Sangham,1988), Kottayam Kunjachan (eponymous title,1990) and Tony Kurishingal (No:20 Madras Mail, 1990) amongst many others.

In addition to creating superstars of Mohanlal and Mammootty by gifting them characters that had an attention-grabbing mixture of the hero and the anti-hero, Dennis’ movies explored the gray mindscapes of revenge, regret and retribution. His girls characters had been no pushovers however the hero was firmly in cost in lots of his movies.

Even in a movie like Shyama, with Nadia Moidu within the titular function, Mammootty was centre stage all by the movie. So it was in nearly all his movies.

Paying homage to Dennis, Suhasini Mani Ratnam writes on her Instagram account how she remembers the banter, arguments and discussions that she used to have with Dennis, Priyadarsan and cinematographer Dinesh Baboo.

Although Dennis labored with a number of administrators, a few of his greatest hits had been helmed by Joshiy and the late Thampi Kannanthanam. Later, he tasted the identical success with tearjerker Akashadoothu, which was directed by Sibi Malayil.

Evergreen work

“It was actor-producer Prem Prakash, Dennis’ uncle, who suggested that I direct a script by Dennis. Since he was a master of mass entertainers and thrillers, I expected a story on those lines. Instead, he came up with a story that was more like the ones I was used to doing, a sentimental family drama that has passed the test of time. That was the only film we did but it remains one of our biggest hits,” says Sibi.

He remembers Dennis as an introvert, as somebody who didn’t need to be within the rat race. “Dennis moved to Ettumannoor, his hometown, after a few years in Kochi. He was not someone comfortable with the razzle-dazzle of tinsel world. He never pursued directors or producers and was happy to do projects that came to him,” provides Sibi.

Poster of ‘Bhoomile Rajakkanmaar’, written by Dennis Joseph and directed by Thampi Kannanthanam, had Mohanlal in the lead

Poster of ‘Bhoomile Rajakkanmaar’, written by Dennis Joseph and directed by Thampi Kannanthanam, had Mohanlal within the lead  
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It is that serene nature that TK Rajeevkumar, who directed Dennis’ Mahanagaram, a Mammootty-starrer, remembers. He remembers his honesty and sense of humour. “He was a good human being who refused to be carried away by his success. A voracious reader, Dennis himself seemed surprised to see his characters being wholeheartedly welcomed by the audience. What was unusual about him was that he used to narrate his story first. Only then would he put it down on paper. Even as he wrote, he had a clear picture of which actor would be doing the main role and tailor his dialogues accordingly. So, the actors enjoyed working with him. He told me that he was an “accidental writer” who was pressured to jot down his first script (Eeran Sandhya) by his uncle Jose Prakash and the director Jeassy. His sense of humour and heat made him a good friend of many within the movie trade,” remembers Rajeev.

After FIR (1998), Dennis couldn’t attain the peaks of success he had achieved along with his early works however the scenarist along with his genial outlook had malice in direction of none.

Making a comeback

For a number of years Dennis took a break after which made a comeback in 2002 with Phantom. It was Patham Nilayile Theevandi (2009) directed by Joshy Kurien that introduced Dennis again into the limelight. The movie, which centered on psychological sickness and the connection between a affected person and his household, society and well being professionals, had Innocent within the lead function and gained the FIPRESCI Award on the International Film Festival of Kerala.

Dennis Joseph (second from left) with Joshy Kurien on the sets of ‘Patham Nilayile Theevandi’

Dennis Joseph (second from left) with Joshy Kurien on the units of ‘Patham Nilayile Theevandi’
 
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“A critically-acclaimed film, it was perhaps the only film that Dennis also associated with as a producer. He wrote it as a short story in a leading Malayalam magazine. I approached him and asked him if he would turn it into a script for a film. Although initially reluctant, he did it as only Dennis could and we made the film,” says Joshy.

Dennis wrote the dialogues for Geethanjali (2013) by Priyadarsan, his final work for a movie. Although he had completed a script for movie director Omar Lulu, that has not but reached the display.

Dennis’ associates say how Dennis was planning a comeback in a significant manner. Although that chapter will stay unwritten, the characters that Dennis dropped at life on the display will all the time stay on amongst viewers of cinema.



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