Remembering Crazy Mohan: Gods Must Be Loving Crazy
The man attributed his success to the women in his life. And made one of them the plot driver in many of his works. How adorable can someone be?
Image of Crazy Mohan, courtesy of Instagram
Have you seen his interviews? Incorrigibly hilarious. Almost every interview of Crazy Mohan takes a turn like this:
"How was your experience working with Kamal Hassan?"
"Let that be, when I was working in Sundaram there was a dog outside my office that used to chase me on my way home..."
It always takes enormous amounts of effort and patience by the interviewer to bring him back on track and answer the question. Otherwise Mohan Rangachari aka Crazy Mohan will go off on a different tangent and unleash a goods train of ‘mokka’ jokes (PJs) on them.
It would have been difficult for people around him. But then, looking at him, they'd probably join in and add two or three more bogeys of their own jokes.
I was on a phone call with a friend today and I casually slipped in his movie dialogue, without even realising it. That's how influential his writing has been. Show me one person who has not attempted his trademark puns in their school plays. Show me one person who has not gone 'Ayyoooo' covering their face with their hands in embarrassment and delight at the same time to his impossible jokes. Show me two people on Tamil Twitter who have not discussed Michael Madana Kama Rajan.
"They say behind every successful man, there is a woman. But behind my success, there are many women. Please don't mistake me. I meant my grandmother, mother, wife, my teacher Janaki." The man attributed his success to the women in his life. And made one of them (Janaki) the plot driver in many of his works. How adorable can someone be?
He always came across as the uncle in the apartment complex who went around insisting little kids come to his free Bhagavad Gita class. There was no escaping him. Give him an opportunity to talk and you will regret it and at the same time you do not want him to stop. He never lost his innocence and it was pretty evident in his jokes.
The man who allegedly wrote ten pages of 'Munnadi Pinnadi' jokes was my (and many of the millennials') first theatre star.
Long before streaming entertainment and expensive cable TV network, Sunday evenings would almost always be playing cricket followed by a movie on TV. Doordarshan, always known for testing patience with its content, would sometimes get itchy and play an exciting movie such as Thodi Ragam (I am joking, of course.) On one such Sunday, our middle-class household's budget allowed us to watch his Messai Aanalum Manaivi. I don't remember much of the play, but I remember the laughter on my family's face. It is etched in my memory.
Imagine how many more such memories he must have created with his works? The countless LOLs (and it was always LOL, never just a chuckle) delivered punch after punch with no time to recover, the clapping on hands in glee when his characters on stage discovered the comic twist which the audience always knew, the jokes that you would not tolerate from anyone else but somehow he gets a special pass, the scenes that absolutely refuse to get boring even after countless repeat watches - the man has surely ionic bonded his way into our lives, replacing some of our stuck uppity electrons with his trademark blade jokes.
The crazy mama from Mylapore ('My-love-aa-pore' to him) is gone. He has left for us, all of his classic never ending word play, while taking a little bit of us with him. He would not want us to be writing silly sad obits for him, would he? Hasn’t he always quoted Benjamin Franklin - ‘Nothing is certain except death and taxes’? Instead I guess he'd rather want we spend the time reading his favourite author Ki Va Jagannathan or PG Wodehouse.
(The author is Balajee GE, a Chennai-based writer who wants to write serious stuff that would usher in world peace but ends up writing about happenings in his backyard (actually there is no backyard. He lives in an apartment complex). His Twitter handle is @localteaparty. Views are personal.)
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