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His maiden work is a big hit

Actor Mukesh's book `Mukesh Kathakal, Jeevithathile Nerum Narmavum' is full of humour. Vachaspathi and Annamma, two characters in the book are very much alive and kicking.

The book, edited by S. Anil Kumar and published by Olive Publications, Kozhikode, is not an autobiography but collection of humorous experiences of the author while a student of S.N. College, Kollam. There are some tales from his life as an actor too, but it is his campus life that catches our imagination.

The actor said he was surprised by the kind of response the book received (the entire first edition is nearly sold out, according to the publishers). When asked to pick his own favourite story from the book, he said it was the one about Annamma.

Annamma was a student at Fatima Mata National College, the institution where the boys like Mukesh from S.N. College would spend more time (for S.N. was a men's college then and Fatima boasted pretty women). Besides being beautiful, she was talented. At the inter-collegiate sports meet, she was making fouls at the long jump competition and was perplexed when she saw Mukesh watching her closely. He was dressed in white and sports shoe, and she thought he was a coach.

Mukesh did not waste the opportunity and told her that she needed to count her steps before she jumped, as his `trainees' did; he also showed her from where exactly she should put her feet for her jump. Only when the boys booed did Annamma realise that she was being made a fool by Mukesh.

A year later, Annamma, who was also a singer, was struggling behind the curtains with the opening line of the song ``Pulayanar maniyamma... '' which she was going to sing at an arts competition in Kollam. She saw a young man in `mundu' who looked like a singer. She told him about her problem and listened attentively to his suggestions; just then, the curtains went up and the students booed.

Annamma had a closer look at the man's face: it was Mukesh, of course.

The pick of the Mukesh tales from cinema features fellow-actor Jayaram. One day Mukesh overheard Jayaram wax eloquent about his role in `Keli'. ``It is such a lovely story that I wept when it was being narrated to me,'' Jayaram said and added that director Bharathan had given him a bottle of oil extracted from peacock.

When somebody told aloud what the oil was for, Jayaram said, ``I am playing the role of a one-legged man, so I have to bend one leg back; I have to apply the oil to make my leg more flexible.''

Mukesh told Jayaram: ``Apply some on your face as well; let it also be a bit flexible.'' Even Jayaram could not help laughing.

P. K. Ajith Kumar

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