Every film has a composite story that holds its audience (or not), and then some delectable pieces, parts, and people that stay on for longer. And then, forever, as memes. Here’s a list of some of the best one-scene wonders that have refused to stop tickling us silly.
The caretaker who wanted a kambili puthappu
Ramji Rao Speaking, 1989
In this debut directorial of Siddique-Lal, she comes in just a scene, as the caretaker of the old age home the hero’s (Mukesh) mother (Sukumari) resides in. It all starts with that supposed call from Calcutta, as the hero has duped his mother into thinking that he has a well-paying job there. After his conversation with his mother, the warden insists on talking to the hero. She wonders if he can bring along a few blankets from Calcutta, and the hero who is living a hand-to-mouth existence gets a jolt. That’s when he does the next best thing — pretend he can’t hear her. She helpfully shouts at the top of her voice, but he insists he can’t hear a word even though the man standing next to him can. And just like that, the kambili puthappu request turns out to be the wittiest moment in the film.
The firebrand dad in a cameo
Alphonse Puthren’s Premam, about a young man’s coming-of-age arc, has a cameo who also got to mouth a whistle-worthy monologue. George’s father has been called to the principal’s office and the atmosphere can be cut with a knife. But, in under three minutes, he makes short shrift of the Principal and the teachers waiting to vilify him. That the role was played by Renji Panicker, who recreates some of his own iconic bombastic dialogues, turned out to be the cherry on the cake.
The lonely boy from Ras Al Khaimah
Premam is one film where the supporting actors spout the most entertaining lines. Like this hilarious Romeo who comes during the earlier part of the film as one of Mary’s admirers. George and his friends are planning to propose to Mary when he makes a dramatic entry in a canary yellow shirt, and, without preamble, begins a random account of a childhood at Ras Al Khaimah to a stunned Mary — “I was lonely in that big house. A mom who danced and partied and a dad who made money.” This line, through the relatively-new Sharfuddin’s voice, ends up as a laugh-till-you-die meme.
The thug and his sly threat “Nadesha Kollanda”
Raavana Prabhu, 2001
In this Ranjith film, after Mohanlal’s Karthikeyan vanquishes Mundakkal Sekaran’s (Napoleon) hospital, his nephew Rajendran (Vijayaraghavan) decides to get even with him by hiring goons to bash up Karthikeyan. When they step out to beat him, this is Rajendran’s brief to them — they can do everything they want, except kill him. This dialogue resonates in every meme to this day.
The mad genius of a boy
Pranchiyettan & The Saint, 2010
When Pranchiyettan (Mammootty) volunteers to fund a lad’s education, he didn’t quite expect this amount of resistance. A tutor (a smashing Jagathy Sreekumar in a cameo) who thinks highly of himself walks in and finds all his credentials blow up in smoke when the lad solves the Rubik’s cube in record time. That’s when Jagathy walks away with one of the most priceless lines in this film directed by Ranjith— “Prathibhayaanu Prathibhasamanu”.
When ideas got assaulted: “Ente idea aayi poyi”
Maheshinte Prathikaram, 2016
In the Dileesh Pothan film, Mahesh (Fahadh Faasil) is dying to steal some time alone with Soumya (Anushree), and that’s when his friend, Artist Baby (Alencier), offers a master plan to keep the family occupied by pretending to clutch his heart in pain. But that goes hilariously awry, as the men around offer to revive him with CPR. As a happy Mahesh bumps into the dishevelled Baby, who is torn between anger and exhaustion, he comes up with this line — “Ente idea aayi poyi. Allel konnene.”
English on weed or weed on English
The hero (Dileep) has lost his memory in this Jayaraj film and has gone back to the state of a kid. That’s when his brother-in-law (Salim Kumar) provides him some weed, only to hear him recite English poetry. Is that all it takes to speak English, he wonders. “Veruthey schoolil poyi samayam kalanju”, ah, the years wasted! Again, a meme favourite.
The poor little beauty
Mr Brahmachari, 2003
Kalpana’s seriously witty concern when she finds herself being shooed away by Mohanlal as she is smitten by him – “Pavathingalkku ithrem soundaryam kodukkaruthu” (Oh God, please don’t give so much beauty to poor people like me”).