Mammootty smiled sadly when he told poet and actor Balachandran Chullikkad, “In the old days, when I came to your home, it was called friendship. Now, if I come, it would be called communal harmony, right da?” Balachandran Chullikkad shared this bit of conversation he had with actor Mammootty, with other friends, on WhatsApp. One of them – Harilal Rajagopal – shared it on social media and is being picked up, shared and commented upon for its simple expression of social realities. The poet has confirmed to TNM that it is a note he wrote about the conversation.
Balachandran begins the note with working with Mammootty in a film and going to Edavanakkadu lakeside in Vypin, Cochin, for its shooting. “The man (Mammootty) who was joking with others at break time in the noon, had suddenly become silent. Thoughtful. Called me aside and asked in a hushed voice, “The social condition is very bad, right?” I replied heavily, “Yes”. At that moment, we became the old students of Maharajas College.”
Poetically, Balachandran then describes Mammootty as looking at the ripples of the lake – a lake that shone in poisonous blue in the scorching heat of the noon under a cloudless sky. And that’s when Mammootty asks Balachandran what their friendship would be called now.
Comments on Harilal’s post called the note touching, and how people could change so soon. One comment reads, ‘How soon did we rebuild the walls of fences that nature had destroyed in the floods.”
There was an unusually inspiring harmony and unity among the people of the state at the time of the devastating floods in August last year, which sadly seemed to fade away when the rains stopped and lives went back to normal. The way the poet’s note spread shows how people are aware and unhappy of the changes that appear to have come to the state in the recent past – a change when religion and caste, which were barely noticed before among friends, have suddenly become identifiers and labels to separate one from another.