Post Facebook Freakens have grown in numbers. This image of a lad in their 20s with gelled hair and mind-numbingly quirky hairdos, spouting “bro” and “macha” in every sentence and investing in clothes that look cool on the ramp gained a brand-new identity with social media. Their hairdos are bizarre, ranging from funky hairstyles like the lengthy tousled hair with beard to purple style undercut to black men funk and even the teenage boy look. It’s said that they will not step out without wearing low waist jeans or sunglasses—it’s a very non-Malayali sense of dressing. They also have this cool font on their Facebook pages—'FrEaKs of KoCHi’. Mohammed Faiz Naheed, a freaken from Kochi speaks about his tribe and the few ones in Malayalam cinema.
“We mostly inhabit Kochi and Kozhikode. Of course, my dad and mom aren’t too thrilled with my look and it gets worse when the society has branded us as lazy and irresponsible. What absolutely gets to me is that all the people who procrastinate are collectively called Freakens! When a few jobless chaps slipped into various weird versions to get more clicks on Facebook, they were also christened as Freakens.
In conservative Kerala, Freakens are viewed as aliens. I am aware that for a job interview I might have to cut my hair and wear formals. Ideally, we like to carry forward this image till marriage.
We are all normal, ordinary chaps and not as dangerous as we are projected on screen. In Action Hero Biju, there is some truth in how the cops see us—most of them pull us up or scold us whenever they see us. There are chaps who do drugs but not everyone. In some way films play a part in stereotyping us. We are always made the butt of all jokes.
Contrary to the cinematic image of being loafers, most of us take care of our families. The notion that all of us are Bob Marley fans who do weed is nonsense. Do you think we get a free run in colleges? No way. Freakens are faint-hearted and they are not pariahs. Usually the police pull us up for riding triples on bike or not wearing helmets. Sometimes cops threaten us to change into ordinary hairstyles. But we just copy a style we liked. And we prefer rap and pop music. We have a thing for bikes, guitars, jackets and glares.
I don’t think any filmmaker/scriptwriter has tried to talk to any one of us. They just go by one single cliché. They just add one special role, like a piece of comedy starring a Freaken. Since most films project us in a bad light, we aren’t bothered about it anymore. Honey Bee (Balu with his weird self) was fine to some extent. At least they portrayed us as normal people. Most of the characters were fun and relatable. Kili Poyi was also fun.”
Notable Freakens in cinema
Kuttiyappan in Kottayam Kunjachan would be one of the antiquated versions of a “freaken” in Malayalam cinema. In tacky red shirts, bell bottoms, a thick ugly leather belt, and ill-fitting coolers, he is the “pacha parishkari” who maintains that “it’s highly unlikely for people to not like him,” all the while flashing his teeth in delight.
Aye Auto’sRemanan with the letter R rolled up is a caricaturist freaken. In white pants, printed tees, and a quirky ear stud, he makes life difficult for Srinivasan’s cop. “Haiiii Kulla, Eye Munda” shrieks Remanan and it goes on for a while, till he gets caught. It’s hilarious to watch all that bluster draining out when the cop gives him the right “treatment.”
Tony Kurishingal bro in Jamna Pyari is a realistic depiction. He is the cool dude in the village and squeals “hi bro” with an accent. His family looks at him with concern and amusement. Dressed always in shorts and t-shirts, this bro likes to take a selfie at odd times. Neeraj Madhavan nails him.
In Chotta Mumbai, Vasco’s gang has two hilarious versions—Chandrappan and Basheer with their spiked hair, heavy Fort Kochi drawl, and lazy life. They are always in search of a free meal and often end up in soup and slip out of it just as smartly.
In ABCD, the freaken makes a brief appearance as someone who tries to dupe the American duo.
Then of course the pair of them in Action Hero Biju and Sreenath Bhasi in several films. After all, he is the official freaken in Malayalam cinema!
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