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How Mamukkoya’s ‘thug life’ memes got Prithviraj Sukumaran to cast him in Kuruthi, Irshad Parari explains

Mamukkoya had apparently wanted Kuruthi to release in theatres as it had him in a 'mass' role, says Irshad Parari

How Mamukkoya’s ‘thug life’ memes got Prithviraj Sukumaran to cast him in Kuruthi, Irshad Parari explains
Mamukkoya and Prithviraj Sukumaran in a poster of Kuruthi

Last Updated: 03.30 PM, Apr 26, 2023


Malayalam actor Mamukkoya was mostly known for his comedic roles in films such as Ramji Rao Speaking, Nadodikkattu and Thalayanamanthram. So, it was a total surprise for both the audience and the actor, when he was offered a ‘mass’ role in Prithviraj Sukumaran-starrer Kuruthi, which was one of the most memorable roles of the veteran actor in recent times.

The 76-year-old actor, who passed away in Kozhikode on Wednesday due to cardiac arrest, surprised the film’s crew, who had initially expressed concern over casting him due to his age and the pandemic in late 2020.

Ayalvaashi filmmaker Irshad Parari, who had worked as the chief associate director in Kuruthi, in an exclusive chat with OTTplay, recounts the experience of working with Mamukkoya in the movie that had essay the role of Moosa Khader.

“The first thing that came to my mind when I heard the news of his demise was how he used to be the first person on the sets. When Rajuettan (Prithviraj) had asked me to join Kuruthi as its chief associate director, a lot of us expressed our concern whether Mamukkoya would be able to work in the movie, because he was old and the entire story happens during a night,” Irshad says.

Mamukkoya and Irshad Parari
Mamukkoya and Irshad Parari

But that was never a bother for the veteran actor, he explains. “All he wanted were two chairs, one of which he had used while having food. He would be in costume and sit beneath a tree, and when it’s his shot, he would come and finish it. He was such an amazing person. Even during the dubbing, he would turn up at 7.30am and say, ‘Unlike other movies, I have to do a lot of work for this movie. That’s why I came when my energy levels are high.’ The film had his voiceover throughout,” Irshad recalls.

Getting into the character of Moosa was also a cakewalk for the actor. “Because he was such a senior actor, right after we narrated the story to him, he precisely understood what’s required of the character. Rajuettan would just tell him the scene and he got it. Most of his scenes were done in the first take itself,” he says.

Mamukkoya and Irshad Parari on the sets of Kuruthi
Mamukkoya and Irshad Parari on the sets of Kuruthi

However, Irshad reveals that Mammukoya “was upset that Kuruthi came out on OTT”. “It was supposed to be ‘mass’ movie for him,” he says. Explaining why, Irshad says, “During that time, Mamukkoya’s ‘thug life’ memes were trending on social media with his clapbacks. That’s also how Rajuettan (Prithviraj) picked him for the role; he said if Mammukoya does this character it will be something new and we could also capitalise on his popularity.”


Incidentally, even before Irshad had worked with Mammukoya in Kuruthi, the latter was familiar with his family. “He was from Kallayi and used to measure timber when he was young at a woodmill. My grandfather, Parari Haji, used to be in the timber business. So, they knew each other. When I introduced myself to Mamukkoya during Kuruthi, he immediately remembered that connection and asked me if I was Parari Haji’s grandson. We had that rapport. Also, he knew my brother Muhsin because they had worked together for Native Bapa album,” he says.

Irshad also tell us how Mamukkoya reacted when Muhsin had approached him for the video in 2012. “When he introduced himself and told him what he was here for, he asked if he was Parari’s grandson and said, ‘Then just say that, we are working’. He was a simple, modest man.”

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