A twist in the plot: Gangster turns actor, features in movie on his life

by admin
A twist in the plot: Gangster turns actor, features in movie on his life
A twist in the plot: Gangster turns actor, features in movie on his life


HE IS the genial boy-next-door, the son of a police officer who hangs out with college mates and dreams of landing a government job. Until, one day, his life turns upside down. His brother is killed, he seeks revenge, and turns into a dreaded gangster.

It’s a tried and tested plot for many a movie. Only, this one is for real — it’s the story of Shabu Praudeen alias Gundukadu Sabu, a gangster who sent shivers down the spines of many in the Thiruvananthapuram of the early 2000s. But this story comes with a happy twist: in Kaapa, a Malayalam action thriller released last month, said to be a loose adaptation of the gangster’s life, Sabu, now an actor, doesn’t play himself; instead, he is ‘District Collector Rajmohan’.

Directed by Shaji Kailas and featuring actor Prithviraj Sukumaran as ‘Kotta Madhu’, a character inspired by Sabu, Kaapa is based on the gang wars in Kerala’s capital city in the 1990s and the first decade of this millennium. The film’s title is derived from KAAPA, the Kerala Anti-Social Activities Prevention Act of 2007, under which Sabu was booked at least twice.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Sabu calls Kaapa a “cinematised version of his life”.

The youngest son of late police constable Prabhakaran and retired health service employee Vijayakumari, Sabu grew up in Thiruvananthapuram’s ‘Gundukadu’ or Barton Hill Colony, one of the poorer neighbourhoods of the capital. Not many of the youngsters here went to college, so when Sabu did, his family hoped he would escape the hopelessness of Gundukadu and land a government job some day. However, it was acting that Sabu was passionate about — he spent his undergraduate days at the city’s University College as an active member of its cultural groups.

An incident from the early 2000s was to change his life forever — Sabu’s brother, gangster Gundukadu Shaji, was hacked to death, allegedly by associates of another ganglord, Vayaran Selvan, at Manacaud in the capital city.

“Shaji, my brother, was murdered in broad daylight. Unfortunately, he frequently got into problems and I would chide him for his ways. Yet, I was always there for him, no matter what. His rivals probably knew I wasn’t someone who would take things lying down, which is why they wanted to finish off me as well,” says Sabu, recalling some of the attempts on his life.

He continues to live in Gundukadu Colony with his mother, wife and daughter.

Police sources said that so far, Sabu has been booked in over 30 cases. While Sabu says he left behind his life as a gangster over five years ago, at least four cases against him are still pending in court.

On his past, Sabu says, “I became part of the underworld only because my brother was killed and I had to stay alive. But after a point, it all seemed senseless. I had nothing left to prove… So I gradually started separating myself from that life.”

It was around this time that he turned to his first love: movies.

Sabu is currently closely associated with Sahasrara Cinemas Private Limited, and has acted in films produced by the firm, including Holy Wound, Kaanthi and Orilathanalil — all directed by the award-winning Asok R Nath.

“Sahasrara Cinemas introduced me to Sabu when I was looking for actors to cast in Kaanthi. At first, I considered it an opportunity to help a man with a tainted past make a new beginning. But Sabu proved to me that he was much more than his past. He played his character with utmost honesty and dedication. I was impressed. That’s why I cast him in my remaining films as well. Sabu is a director’s actor,” says Nath.

Sabu has also acted in mainstream films such as Price of Police, Jailer and Apposthalanmarude Pravarthikal, which are yet to hit the screen. He was earlier on the creative team of Rajeev Ravi’s mystery crime film Njan Steve Lopez and has acted in the director’s period action-drama Thuramukham.

On his role in Kaapa, which is based on writer G R Indugopan’s book Shangumukhi, Sabu says, “Indugopan was my junior at University College. When he wrote Shangumukhi, he took a lot of elements from my life. But when Shaji Kailas came on board to make Kaapa, they made a lot of changes to that story and made it as cinematically appealing as possible.”

Speaking to The Indian Express, Indugopan said, “I worked in Thiruvananthapuram as a journalist for almost 15 years and so in Shangumukhi and later Kaapa, I incorporated the stories of the city’s dark side and that of people like Sabu. I adapted a lot of elements from Sabu’s life while writing the script, especially for the hero.”

Sabu, who has already tried his hands at acting, besides being executive producer and assistant director, now dreams of becoming an independent film director. “I want to make a good commercial film that audiences will enjoy. I don’t want to cut corners. It should have quality and entertain people at the same time,” he says.

He is also living another dream. “I can’t tell you how happy I am now. The world of crime had taken away the small joys of life. I would have to constantly look over my shoulder. I had forgotten the small joys of life — how beautiful the sunset at the beach looks, or how great it is to eat from a food cart.”


Source link

You may also like