How do you write, execute and act in a mass transformation scene – The Salaam Kashmier example

Making a transformation scene that leaves viewers in goosebumps in a commercial entertainer is not a mean task . Let’s take the example of Salaam Kashmier and see the six major factors which all in exact proportions should go behind making such a scene:

1. Show your hero as a simpleton and ordinary guy ( till the audience is bored to death):

Make all the people in village laugh at him, reject him. Give him job of a security so that the transformation scene later looks very punchy. Now repeat all these details for as long as you can so that the viewers are bored to death.Now the transformation scene would hit you like bricks. Director Joshiy very cleverly continues with this storyline for 1 hour 15 minutes before arriving at the huge twist
Suresh Gopi and Jayaram in Salaam Kashmier
2. Bring some character who knows the hero’s past:

Suddenly introduce a character onto the screen to explain other characters and audience what a brilliant guy the hero is. Here Joshiy leaves no stone unturned as he brings Superstar Suresh Gopi to tell Lalu Alex that Sreekumar(Jayaram) is “Indian Military Wing’s commanding officer Major Sreekumar”
Jayaram in Salaam Kashmier
3. The hero transforms:

At this point, the hero should suddenly change his body language and look massy. Jayaram does a top job as he suddenly transforms from a simpleton to Major Sreekumar in matter of seconds. ( How an actor can use his eyes to good use can be seen in this scene as he looks in different directions for no reason). Adding to the impact is also the cinematographer’s fine work which captures different poses and angles.

Tidbit – Nivin Pauly winning state award in 2014 above Jayaram’s performance in Salaam Kashmier got lot of criticism back then
4. Reaction of other characters:

A very important aspect in this whole exercise is the sudden shock of a character who always thought the hero to be a different guy and who was completely unaware of this past. Lalu Alex’s reaction in this scene is same as viewers – ” What thenga is all this ?”
5. Show quick glimpses of how hero looked in the past:

Now quickly show some frames of the hero from past to give the audience a glimpse of what an extra-ordinary guy was the hero in the past. If you can mix the frames of the hero walking and running in sytle like Salaam Kashmier does here, nothing like that !
6. BGM ( The most important piece in all this):

Last but not least, the back ground score has to compliment what is happening on the screen. In these 2 minutes of the transformation, the music director gives a music that goes – ” Papama Papama Papama” ( I wonder if it was an indirect hint to Joshy that what he is doing on screen is a sin)

The end result though is one of the most celebrated transformation scenes in Malayalam.

Also Read – What really happened behind the scenes of Fahadh Faasil’s Maalik