Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jnanapith Award for ONV

At last our poet par excellence ONV was yesterday conferred with the 2007 Jnanapith Award for his contribution to Literature.This award had been long overdue to ONV and comes to a Malayalam poet for the second time after G.Sankara Kurup had been honoured in 1965. This has come as a great honour to the Malayalam language itself.
I had personally come in to contact with him many years back when he had written the lyrics of the films I have been associated with. Since then I had maintained personal relationship with him on many occasions, the last on being at the marriage function of playback singer Aparna Rajeev, his grand daughter.
Given below is a photo taken at the Pooja Ceremony of the film MIZHIGAL SAAKSHI directed by Ashok R Nath, The occasion was the confluence three great personalities singer K.J.Yesudas, Music Composer Mastero Dakshinamoorthy Swami and eminent lyricist ONV.
Producer Das, Yesudas, Dakshinamoorthy Swami, ONV and me

During the shooting of the Krishanattam sequence at the Mugathala Murari Temple , he visited our sets to witness the picturising of the song written by him and sung by his grand daughter Aparna Rajeev.

Anil Mughathala, Ramu Mangalapally, Kochu Preman, ONV, Ashok R Nath, Vineeth, Sukumari and me

I wish him a very long and fruitful life with many more honours being showered upon our own Poet Laureate ONV.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

For old times sake .....

Yesterday on the occasion of a mutual friend's daughter's marriage a unique meeting of old time associates from SWAPNADANAM days took place took place. Mohammed Bappu (Parsi) who was based in Bombay wanted to produce films in Malayalam and had contacted K.G.George to Direct it. All he wanted was a good film and never interfered in the project and gave full freedom to go ahead. P.A.Latheef was in charge of the production and the film SWAPNADANAM became a reality and the rest is history. It won many Awards in the State and National level and had become a landmark in Malayalam films. Mohammed Bappu wanted his friend, Jitin Shyam, a Malayali but working in the Hindi film industry as Music Director to compose songs for the film. But ultimately there were no songs in SWAPNADANAM and he could not be accommodated in the film. Kabeer Raothar's first film LUBNA (Hindi) was also produced by Mohammed Bappu. While we were doing the film SWAPNADANAM, Sankaran Kutty the all-in-all person in Malayalam film Industry was working in the Vijaya Laboratory at Madras .

Though we used to meet each other individually, this was the first occasion that we all were together and it was recorded for posterity in the photo given below!

Producer Mohammed Bapu, myself, Sankaran Kutty, K.G.George,
Kabeer Raothar & Jitin Shyam

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yet another loss - VENU NAGAVALLI

I had just finished posting my memoirs about Tamil Actor Murali, this morning and picked up the newspaper only to find the headline that my friend Malayalam Actor, Writer & Director Venu Nagavalli passed away around 1.30 AM ! What a tragedy of losing friends one after another and to write about them in continuation! But only by sharing your grief, letting it out you can unburden yourself and remain sane. I just returned from the VJT Hall where his mortal remains were kept for people to pay their respects and last farewell.

Ever since he had acted in K.G.George's film ULKADAL, I had known him but he had acted in my three films only, that too all Directed by K.G.George and outstanding ones : KOLANGAL, YAVANIKA and ADAMINTE VARIYELLU. Because of his image as forsaken lover image in his first film ULKADAL, people think he is a sad person. Though he is soft spoken and calm by nature he opens up his humorous side in the company of friends. Even though we haven't worked together for a long time we used to meet on several occasions and renewed our friendship. In 1983 , he attended my marriage at Kollam along with P.A.Latheef ( who is also no more, now) and given below is a photo taken on that occasion.

Myself, Venu and P.A.Latheef

In the end scene of KOLANGAL, the character played by Venu sets fire to his hut and departs the village. The hut was erected in the Chitraleka Film Co-operative studio complex and the scene was planned to be shot late in the evening so that the fire will be dramatic against a darkening sky. Being the end shot of the film, the camera was set for a long shot to show thw whole hut and the scenery behind. The hut made of palm leaves and straw had to be sprinkled with petrol so that it will catch fire when lighted, immediately without any time lag. The art department guys in their enthusiasm sprinkled a whole can of petrol all over the hut.

With camera rolling, Venu put a lighted torch on to the hut and there was a fire ball and the hut exploded in flames! Fortunately Venu backed off in time, otherwise he would have been badly burnt by the fire. What had happened was the petrol was sprinkled much in advance and had vapourised in to an inflammable mixture and the moment it was lighted it turned into a fireball. We then re-erected the set the next day and re-shot the scene with care!

Thus he had a miraculous escape many years back and managed to give us many memorable Malayalam films. But now death had caught up and snatched him away.

I very much miss him and his films.

I pray for his Soul to rest In Peace along with his family and friends

Murali , Tamil actor Passed Away

It came as a big shock to me that Murali, the leading hero of yesteryear passed away at a young age of 46, due to heart attack on the morning of 8 th September 2010. Only recently he had launched his son Atharv as hero in the Tamil film BAANA KATHTHADI and did not live to see his son’s career flourish! What a sad and sudden end!

Murali and I have worked together in only one film “PAGAL NILAVU” Director Mani Rathnam’s maiden Tamil film way back in 1985. We had a nice jolly relationship even though he was a just at the beginning of his career and I was a well known cinematographer. He was always polite and was a gentleman. At 21 years, he was quite enthusiastic and energetic performing well in both dance and stunt sequences. His jovial nature and friendliness made work in hot outdoor locations less strenuous.During the outdoor shooting at Kuttalam, after pack up the whole crew and artistes used to go the Five falls for a refreshing bath and have fun.

I never had an opportunity to do any other film with him nor meet him afterward. Still the memories of happy days linger long on the mind's screen.

I express my heartfelt condolences to his grieving family members and friends.