Date:05/08/2005 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/fr/2005/08/05/stories/2005080501160100.htm
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Return of the super cop

SREEDHAR PILLAI

Suresh Gopi dons the role of the fire-brand honest police officer in `Bharathchandran IPS,' which is being released today.


All the people whom I talked to... wanted me to take up the gun as `Bharathchandran IPS.' Suresh Gopi



AIMING FOR THE TOP: Suresh Gopi tries to recapture the image that made him a top gun in Mollywood.

`Ormayundo Ee Mukham?' Remember that famous dialogue of Suresh Gopi in `Commissioner' (1994), which became a popular line among Malayalis? Well, Suresh Gopi is making a comeback of sorts with a sequel to `Commissioner' that is aptly titled `Bharathchandran IPS,' which is being released in Kerala today.

Although Suresh Gopi had to enact negative and character roles for some time, films such as `Commissioner,' `Patram' `Ekalavyan' `Kaliyaatam,' and `Pranayavarnagal' pushed him into the superhero category. However, it was his firebrand image as the angry young man that caught the imagination of the audience.

Suresh Gopi, who is known for his action films and hard-hitting dialogues was one of the ruling trio of Malayalam cinema in the late Nineties, before he decided not to do any more action `masala' films.

The actor had then said: "I do not want to popularise the gun culture as it will create a negative impression among youngsters." Gopi was reported to be dabbling in politics and chalking out plans for a political career.

Comeback trail

However, today he would like the forget the past and his statement as a bad dream and make a comeback into mainstream commercial cinema where he earned the reputation of a `macho action hero' who could deliver his dialogues with conviction.

Suresh Gopi will once again take the gun with a vengeance in `Bharathchandran IPS' to cleanse society of criminals. Said Suresh: "I am back after a brief sabbatical from action films. My last such film was `Nariman' (2001). All the people whom I talked to, from the common man on the streets to college students, especially girls, wanted me to take up the gun as `Bharathchandran IPS' and cleanse the system of corruption and rampant communalism prevailing in our society today."

Suresh feels that `Bharathchandran IPS' is the perfect character to make a comeback as an action hero. Suresh explains: "A few years back, my role in `Commissioner' was appreciated. Now after 11 years, our society is steeped in corruption and the credibility of our politicians are at an all-time low. So we need a `Bharathchandran IPS' more than ever before."

Bharathchandran, a character created by writer Ranji Panikkar, is an honest, hard working cop who bends rules and sometimes breaks them in the pursuit of criminals.

Suresh continues with a smile, "The audiences are fed up with our politicians and bureaucrats. They think that Bharathchandran has a magic potion to solve all their problems as he is the man who gets things done with scant regard for the rulers of the day."

Writer-director Ranji Panikkar, a former Congress worker and journalist, is making his debut as a director with the film `Bharathchandran IPS.' He has written the script for a dozen films for top directors like Shaji Kailas, Joshi and Jayaraj, and most of the films had taken pot-shots at the political establishment of the time.

The characters he created, especially Bharathchandran, had struck a chord with the audience of Kerala as all of them were anti-establishment and spoke the colloquial language. Some of the characters that Panikkar created in his films were caricatures of politicians and businessmen, living and dead.

Favourite hero

Panikkar's favourite hero has been Suresh Gopi, for whom he wrote the maximum number of scripts.

Says Panikkar, "Suresh Gopi is the most macho and good looking hero in Malayalam screen. His screen presence and dialogue delivery is amazing." And with `Bharathchandran IPS,' Panikkar has tried to reinvent the formula of punch line dialogues and racy narration. The film is about contemporary Kerala politics and the clout of communal parties in Kerala. This time Bharathchandran is back to solve the murder of Mayambaram Baba, a progressive Muslim leader who strived for communal harmony on the Malabar coastline. It is a two-hour investigation story that is packaged as an edge-of-the-seat political thriller with no songs or dances.

The cast

SS Music VJ Shreya Reddy is starring in the movie as a tough cop. She had acted in `Kazhcha' and `Black.' Ravindhar, the villain of yesteryear, is also acting in the movie. The others in the cast include Lalu Alex, Vijayaraghavan, Sai Kumar and Rajan P. Dev. The cinematography is by Sanjeev Sankar.

Both Suresh Gopi and Ranji Panikkar are confident that `Bharathchandran IPS' will click with today's young audience.

As Suresh Gopi points out, "The film is fast paced and it is many years since a good political thriller has been made." The entire Malayalam film trade is looking forward to `Bharathchandran IPS' as they see Suresh Gopi as an option to the ruling duo of Mammootty and Mohanlal if the film clicks. The film is also being aggressively marketed by distributors `Lal Creations' and is being released with nearly 50 prints (Gopi's biggest-ever release). Theatres are predicting a bumper opening.

Suresh's reputation as an action hero has resulted in the actor signing five films even before the fate of `Bharathchandran IPS' is decided at the box-office! He is doing films with top banners and directors such as Shaji Kailas, K. Madhu and Anil Menon.

As Suresh concludes: "Offers are pouring in after I decided to do action films. But I want to go by the audience verdict and if they want me in such a genre, I will surely will provide them with the best entertainment."

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