'Manjummel Boys': Director explains why 'belt fight' scene at Subhash's house was not random

Chidambaram says Subhash'd have died if not for his brother's belt

Manjummel Boys A poster of 'Manjummel Boys' that shows a rescued Subhash (Sreenath Bhasi)

It seems like cinephiles can't get enough of 'Manjummel Boys.' The Malayalam survival thriller, which has entered the good books of critics and movie makers across states, is surging towards the Rs 200 crore club. With the film drawing large crowds in Tamil Nadu, Kollywood's big-shots like Dhanush, Vikram and Udhayanidhi Stalin reportedly met its crew already. 

Loosely based on a real-life incident from 2006, 'Manjummel Boys' has set a new benchmark for movies based on survival and friendship. With Soubin Shahir and Sreenath Bhasi leading a young brigade of Malayalam actors playing key roles, Chidambaram's 'Manjummel Boys' tells the story of a bunch of friends from Ernakulam's district's 'Manjummel, who set out on a jolly trip to Tamil  Nadu's Kodaikanal hill station. 

Major spoilers ahead

The plot thickens as the mischievous band decides to enter the prohibited areas of the Guna Caves, a major attraction of Kodai, and Sreenath Bhasi's Subhash falls into an 800-ft-deep pit.

With locals and Fire and Rescue personnel hesitant to make a dive to rescue Subhash, who is stuck somewhere in the dark pit, Kuttan (Soubin Shahir), the de facto alpha and eldest of the group, volunteers to go down to rescue his friend. After he is gradually lowered into the pit originally called "Devil's Kitchen" by a rope, Kuttan manages to bring his friend back from the jaws of death, with the rest of Manjummel boys putting all their professional tug of war experience to pull them back up.

While the climax is predictable, the making makes the movie stand out and provides multiple moments of fright and goosebumps for the viewers. Now, director Chidambaram has made a major revelation about his movie, which is now the second most-grossing Malayalam movie in history. 

Ahead of the gang beginning their journey, we see Kuttan forcing Subhash to join them. As they are about to leave, Subhash grabs his younger brother's belt from the wall, resulting in a brief verbal spat between the siblings. 

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Chidambaram, in a recent media interaction, revealed that this scene originally had more significance to the story than just establishing Subhash's background and reason for Kuttan's moral guilt. It is not just that the family of a single mother and minor brother needs Subhash to get back and that he wouldn't have even reached Guna Caves if not for Kuttan's insistence. 

The belt was crucial to Subhash's survival as it got him stuck somewhere at 180 ft in the pit and stopped him from falling to a certain death. "The belt hooked him to something, that's why he didn't slip further down. In real life, the brothers had fought over Subhash's decision to take the belt to Kodaikanal. If not for it, his life couldn't be saved," Manorama Online reported Chidambaram as saying.

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If that's the case, why was the belt's role in making Sreenath Bhasi's character stop slipping not shown in the movie? The director says it was a difficult detail to shoot and thus overlooked. "If we were to show this detail in the movie, we should have taken shots of the belt from the back. It was complicated and thus we decided to avoid it," the report quoted the young director as saying. 

The director also added that a loud Sixon, the character essayed by Balu Varghese, was crucial in awakening a stuck Subhash. It was Sixon's loud cries that awakened the youth, who had lost consciousness during the fall. This was crucial as it helped the people above confirm that Subhash was alive and stuck somewhere below. "Sixon's loud way of talking often annoyed his friends. In real life, he worked at a metal manufacturing unit. The noisy workplace forced him to talk loudly and it became a habit for him. Incidentally, Subhash got lucky because of this," Chidambaram concluded. 


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