Fashion trends are always inspired by Mollywood and this has been happening right from the black and white era itself. From the ‘rice hull (umikari) moustache’ to ‘mundu style’ to the ‘cooling glass’ revolution, these trends are quickly passed to from the screen to the masses. The latest ‘fever’ is to do with the thickly packed beard, which is quite the rage first with the stars and now with teenagers.
It all started with Alphonse Puthren’s crowd puller Premam, in which Nivin Pauly appeared with that thickly packed facial hair. Post release, that look has gone viral on social media as well as among the young. Soon came the first look of Martin Prakat’s Charlie via Facebook, featuring Dulquer Salmaan with a long beard. Kunchakko Boban also joined the bearded gang for his new outing Jamna Pyari.
Martin Prakat, the director of Charlie, clarifies that his hero was not given a beard because it was trending. “From the concept stage itself, it was confirmed that the protagonist of Charlie will have a beard. It has been around one year since we started the scripting of this film. At that time, the so-called ‘beard style’ had not yet arrived in Kerala. But, of course, it is a trend around the globe. In foreign countries, so many experiments are still going on over the beard, in terms of its shape as well as length,” says Martin.
The first look has brought a good response from the film buffs, he says. “I am happy to see that look has been accepted by the audience. I think it is for the first time he (Dulquer) is appearing in this look and that might be the reason why it went viral,” says the photographer-turned-film maker.
As Thomas Sebastian, director of Jamna Pyari, points out, a beard can sometimes reflect a person’s simplicity and not just his fashion sense. “Chackochan is essaying the role of an auto rickshaw driver in my movie. He is a simple and down-to-earth person from Thrissur. During the pre-production stage, we met many drivers and the common factor we could find was the beard,” says Thomas.
Sithin Padinjarethil, a film buff from Palakkad, says that he is always fond of a thick beard. “The recent style which attracted me is that of Dulquer in Charlie,” says Sithin, adding that he has made that ‘first look’ his Whatsapp profile picture.
Actor Neeraj Madhav, who has been appearing with beard in his last few films, says he is addicted to the beard from childhood. “I was a fan of my father who had a beard. During my college days, I got one myself. Though my get-up in the first few films involved a clean shaven face, Sapthamashree Thaskaraha gave me a chance to sport a beard. End of the day, it is the role that decides,” says Neeraj, who will be appearing with a thick beard in Kunjiramayanam and a trimmed beard in Jamnapyari.
Meanwhile, award-winning make-up artist Pattanam Rasheed says that it is a temporary phenomenon. “It is not the first time that the beard is becoming a trend in Kerala. In fact, it has always been a symbol of the average Malayali. In other language films, a Malayali is always shown with a beard. I believe, it often gives an extra dimension to a role but the trend won’t last forever,” says Rasheed.