I recall when August 1? was released, SN Swamy, as a script writer was on a roll. You could say, every single scriptwriter in Malayalam in 1988 aspired to be SN Swamy. From Irupatham Noottandu in 1987, he followed it up with 3 back-to-back box-office scorchers, the tacky Moonnam Mura (1988), the first in the CBI franchise, Oru CBI Diary Kurippu (1988), and then August 1? (1988). I still believe that August 1? was the most confusing movie title for any movie ever graced our Malayalam screens till date. The director wanted the message that had to be conveyed across with the title was August Ennu, ( When, in August? -as the alleged political assassination was expected in the first fortnight of August), but for the average movie fan who looked at the posters, it was too confusing to have his tired intellect be elevated to such lofty and tricky subliminal messages, he settled on August 1 ! 😀 . It was hilarious.
The story was a straight rip-off from the Hollywood version of the Hollywood screen adaptation of Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal (1973) starring the lethal Edward Fox as the assassin out to bump off General de Gaulle, which rolls on to that nail-biting, coronary-generating climax at the end as you sit there helpless knowing there is no force on Earth, save for a miracle that can save the head of De Gaulle on Bastille Day, with the Jackal, smiling and breathing down the trigger.
It was audacious to have the plot transplanted to the political scenario of Kerala’s murky politics, (hell, it would have suited any State’s scenario), but to make you believe that they would go to the lengths of hiring an assassin to ice the CM was way too preposterous, at least for me. I remember, sitting there chuckling in the darkness, as Edward Fox was reborn as Captain Raju, and he went through the motions of bumping off the newly elected, popular CM of Kerala, played by Sukumaran. It was too amusing. But, when you think about it from another point of view, from the perspective of a movie goer who hasn’t even heard of a novelist called Frederick Forsyth, then the whole equations changed. It was way too refreshing for a Malayalam script as thriller, and you already had a taste of SN Swamy’s thriller ride with Irupatham Noottandu (which was a story weaved out of a single premise from the Godfather, about the Corleone family not doing drugs to keep the business intact).
It was also interesting to note that Sibi Malayil involved himself in the “thriller business” only for two productions, and both had SN Swamy writing the screenplay. Buoyed by the success of August 1?, he made Parampara in 1990 but that was a Trainwreck. Sibi Malayil never tried his hand at SN Swamy’s brand of thriller rides again !
Read this very
ambiguous confirmed report of Mammootty “wanting” a sequel to August 1? recently, reprising the role of Special Officer Perumal.. You could read it here. I am looking forward to another chuckle-fest. 🙂
Here is the trailer of the original Day of the Jackal
Here is an excerpt from August 1?
Updated January 6, 2011
Perumal is back ! Produced by Aroma Mani, the script is by SN Swamy again and is directed by Shaji Kailas. Titled August 15, Mammootty reprises the role . Am not quite sure about the releasing date though. You could hear it straight from SN Swamy here
Updated March 11, 2011
The movie slated to be released on March 17, 2011 from what I hear. This should be fun with Shaji Kailas‘s industrial light and fireworks 🙂
Here is the trailer of August 15.