Legendary film star Rajinikanth rose to become one of the most celebrated actors in Indian cinema after struggling as a bus conductor in Bangalore. So was the late actor Kalabhavan Mani who began his life as an autorickshaw driver in a Kerala town.
And here's yet another inspiring real life story of Nelson Ipe. He may not be a very familiar name in the Malayalam industry but one may easily identify him with an upcoming movie. Nelson is donning the hat of a producer for the very first time with the Mammootty-starrer 'Madhura Raja'.
Nelson Ipe's early life was a struggle. After completing schooling, he did odd jobs and like every other Malayalis back then, he wanted to leave for Dubai. “The only thing I knew was driving that's how I left for Dubai in early 90s as a taxi driver. After reaching there, I managed to get the licence of heavy driver. Life just went on and I was looking ahead. Apart from my daily spending, I made sure that I would keep some amount as savings. Thus, when I had saved some amount, I bought my own vehicle – a lorry. I drove it and kept a driver too. More than earning some money, my focus was to build a venture and by 1996 I owned three vehicles. I appointed three drivers and I was the operations in charge. Everything was going on smoothly and life was bringing happiness until I realized that fate had something else in store,” he said.
The steep turn
In order to drive smoothly, one should be well aware of the bumpy road also, says Nelson Ipe. Although in 6 years of life abroad he managed to achieve something, all efforts went in vain in a single day. “In 98 around, an accident changed everything. One of the vehicles which was drove by one of my drivers met with an accident and caused a huge loss to me. During that time, there was something called cargo insurance and since I had failed to get it before the accident, I was asked to pay a huge amount. It was such a big loss that I had to begin from the scratch again. Life had reached a stage again where I had to sell all other vehicles I had till then. From operation manager, I was a driver again. And like you help a baby grow you have to patiently build everything. I was adamant that I will venture out again. Gradually, I took the same route and one after the other bought vehicles again. By 2000, I had bought about 30 vehicles of my own and thus I began my own vehicle company named Kerala Transport in Dubai. Today, we have many latest big vehicles and many hardworking members in our company,” he said.
The 'Raja' encounter
Nelson Ipe who hails from Thrissur town is an ardent lover of Malayalam movies and actors. Ever since his childhood he always dreamt of associating with Malayalam cinema but never knew as to how. And his business venture seemed to be an advantage en route to movies. “I knew writer Udayakrishnan and more than a friend I admired his writings. After my business got settled, I met him while he was on the sets of the movie 'Mr Marumakan'. I shared with him about my interest in venturing into movies and he suggested and he told that he would approach me with a suitable project. Later, he was busy with many projects and I with my own business. Then after after 'Pulimurugan', which he had written, he approached me. He told me how Pulimurugan director Vyshak had plans to make a sequel to his earlier movie. He suggested me to join the project,” recalled Ipe.
Ipe was hesitant to take up but according to him, both Vyshak and Udayakishna had constant support backing him. “While the initial discussion was about Mammootty and roping in few other stars, it was much later that big names came on board,” he said. Biggies like Peter Hein, Jagapathi Babu, Jai, Sunny Leone all are part of the much-anticipated movie.
Raja 2 not a sequel
While media is abuzz with reports that Madhura Raja will be a sequeal to the 2010 film Pokkiri Raja, Nelson Ipe clarifies about it. He said, “It was Mammootty's character Raja that was loved by one and all – his style and his dialogues. Hence we have that particular character in yet another new story. There won't be any other character from Pokkiri Raja except his. Initially we had plans to name the movie as Raja 2, but later we thought it would mislead the viewers who will come to watch the movie and hence switched to the title 'Madhura Raja'.”
“What is life without any risk?” asks Ipe talking about being an independent producer to the big budget movie. “Since the time I decided to fly to Dubai and until now, I undertook risks and I am happy that I went on keeping in focus what I wanted to achieve. See, when you do a small movie, it has its own limitations. With a big star like Mammootty and quite a director like Vyshak, we have value and I hope I keep that value intact,” he said.
Interestingly, Madhura Raja is being made on a budget of Rs 30 crore and will be released under the banner of Nelson Ipe cinemas.
Nelson and wife are blessed with two sons, Jinesh and Jithin.