Mammootty’s role in director Jabbar Patel’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar won him second National Film Award for Best Actor
Last Updated: 05.37 AM, Aug 06, 2022
If there’s one movie that proves Mammootty is one of the best actors in the country, it is director Jabbar Patel’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, which was released in several languages back in 1998. Essaying the character of the ‘Father of the Indian Constitution’ was among the most challenging assignments for the actor that also pushed his limits as well as made a few sacrifices.
In an exclusive interview with OTTplay last year, the film’s director Patel told us about how Mammootty initially reacted when he pitched him the idea of playing Ambedkar, complete with a CGI-rendered photo.
The director said that he had approached the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Pune to render a photo of Mammootty with puffed up cheeks and without his moustache. He then took it to Kerala to show it to the megastar, to get him to agree to the role.
Mammootty initially refused to do the role saying that the only similarity that he and Ambedkar had was that they were both lawyers. “I then showed him the four photographs that showed the transition from his original look to Ambedkar. He was shocked and he rushed to the kitchen to his wife. ‘Look what this man has done to me. I am looking like Ambedkar,’ he told her and she agreed,” the director said, adding that though the snaps did seem to have sparked a change of heart, Mammootty still didn’t agree to do that role.
It then took acclaimed filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan some convincing to get him to hear the script and finally give the nod. Jabbar also said that the first make-up trail had its moments. “he was so reluctant to shave off his moustache. He was angry with himself. He said, ‘Do you know what my moustache means to me?’ Malayali women were mad about his handsome looks because of his moustache and so I had to tell him that he was removing it for a great cause,” he said.
Incidentally, Dulquer was also present when Mammootty had his facial hair shaved to play Ambedkar. “Dulquer was a witness when Mammootty angrily removed his moustache. He said, ‘Uncle, please come. My father is very angry’. We captured that video. Dulquer is responsible for that,” said the director, adding that he is pleased to see how the Sita Ramam actor has now carved a space of his own in cinema.