Crazy Mohan died in Chennai today, and as we watch his best scenes – from both movies and stage plays – it is bittersweet as we try to hold back on the laughs, while taking them in with a gulp of sadness.
But the laughs do happen. Because Crazy Mohan was an immensely talented writer of comedy. And, if he knew we were trying to fight his humour with our emotion, he might probably have a handy one-liner for it.
His writing blended absurd wordplay and odd situations, and he even made English sound so very Tamil.
Here are some of the best scenes featuring his dialogues that will keep us amused for a long long time.
The ‘Gaja ka dost’ scene from Kathanayagan is evergreen. Actors Pandiaraj and SVe Sekar get tricked for money by a fisherman called Gaja who promises to take them to Dubai by sea overnight and drops them off on the Cochin coast instead.
Some of Crazy Mohan’s most popular dialogues were from Michael Madana Kama Rajan. The ‘meen’ sequence where Kameshwaran accidentally drops a fish into the sambar at a Brahmin wedding, setting off a series of meen (fish) jokes, is memorable.
Apparently, Kamal (the film’s writer) and Crazy Mohan initially planned for a lizard to fall into the sambar, but Crazy Mohan changed it to meen because of all the puns it would lend it self to.
Watch this scene where Kameshwaran overhears a conversation, “What do you mean?” “I mean what I mean, but they can’t be so mean,” and says, “Enna ezhavu, ellarum meen meenungara?”
One of the other hilarious scenes is when the four Kamal Haasan characters meet in a bungalow and confusion strikes.
Crazy Mohan’s most active years in cinema were after the success of Apoorva Sagodharargal. Kamal’s character Appu was an instant hit, and Crazy Mohan’s dialogues worked well for the story.
One of the best scenes is when Janagaraj slips and falls while trying to look for Kamal, and the conversation with his assistant which follows.
Crazy Mohan and Kamal came together once again as the screenwriters of Kaathala Kaathala. The Prabhu Deva and Kamal-starrer was a hit. They played orphans who fell in love with rich women (Rambha and Soundarya), and tricked their parents into believing they were rich.
In this scene, Ramalingam arrives at the funeral of Robertson to “deliver a painting he ordered”. He is suspected by Robertson’s son, Williamson. Kamal introduces himself as “Lingam”, and quickly says, “Aabraham Lingon – ‘m’ silent sir…”
Chinna Vaadhiyar was a Goundamani-Senthil hit, starring Goundamani as a josiyar. Their dialogues in the film, and Goundamani’s encounter with Selvaraj when he returns to pick up a purse he forgot are most memorable.
Crazy Mohan’s play on words, which he was known for, was the highlight of the “Munnadi, Pinnadi Enna irunduchu?” super-hit scene from Panchathanthiram. Kamal, his friends and Nagesh travel with a dead body in their car and are stopped by the police on the way.
Watch the scene here.
That same love for words was also visible in the climax scene of Sathi Leelavathi where Kamal breaks it to a weeping Kovai Sarala that the brake of the car she is driving does not work, and she must stay calm and composed. She says, “Ennayave Pudikalayaama, ini breaku pudikaati enna machan!”
Avvai Shanmugi, a spin-off of Mrs Doutfire, had some hilarious moments with Kamal trying to pull off two identities as a dancer and an elderly woman. In the bathroom scene (from 14.00 in this video), he does a complete set up to convince everyone that Avvai Shanmugi is taking a bath.
As Rajinikanth’s friend in Arunachalam, Senthil played a bigger onscreen film hero. In this scene, where Crazy Mohan also makes an appearance, Senthil’s speech to his fans is most popular.
In Vasool Raja MBBS, Crazy Mohan drags out Kamal, Prabhu and their gang, who enter a medical college operation theatre demanding admission for Vasool Raja. Mohan played Dr Margabandhu, and the name itself set off a comedy sequence.