Friday, July 19, 2013

RAGGING - My Second Malayalam Film

Director N.N. Pisharady who directed "NINAMANIJA KALPADUKAL"  in which Actor  Madhu  did his debut in Malayalam films gave me the opportunity to  work in his film "RAGGING". Actor P.J.Antony  wrote the lyrics for the film and the Music composed by M.K.Arjunan. It was produced under the banner Hari Sree Productions by Issac Thomas , Advocate from N. Paravur. Vasudevan Nair (whom we used to address as Vasu annan) the elder brother of Producer Shobana Parameswaran Nair was the Production Manager.

Asst Director Baby, Vasu Annan, N.N. Pisharady and me
Vasu annan was a chronic bachelor and his house at No.7, Gokulam Colony was a refuge for those aspiring to enter the film industry and other fields. There were some permanent residents  like Aslam who was employed in Railways. But others came in  and stayed for some time and left when they found jobs and places to stay. Vasu annan was very generous to everyone by giving food and accommodation for the needy and supported them to find their way in to the film industry at Kodambakkam. I too enjoyed his hospitality for a few days before I found some other lodging place. Some of the inmates I remember were Kalliyoor Sasi and singer Chirayinkil Soman. M.T.Vasudevan Nair also addressed him as Vasu annan" and  was very close to him and entrusted the Madras part of the production work of NIRMALYAM to him. On his last day Vasu annan  dropped M.T. in his car at Palm Grove Hotel, came back to his house, had a heart attack and died the same night.

N.N. Pisharady and me
The Producer Issac Thomas and Director  N.N. Pisharady wanted to cast newcomers in the film as they felt that to act as college students the actors should be really young. A group of  youngsters were selected and Jameela Malik a batch mate of mine from the Film Institute was assigned  the female lead role. The shooting started at Kalamassery Rajagiri College, near Alwaye. This was the first time I am doing a location shooting in the State of Kerala as my first film was entirely shot in Madras. After a few days of shooting we found that some of the boys were not capable of emoting and we had to look for  regular actors to play the lead roles.We retained Jameela and Balan Nair a new comer with a rough look to play a negative character. For others we cast popular actors Vincent and Sudheer and local theatre artists. Below is a photo taken with the Still Photographer Pappachan ( Noble Pictures, Meenangady) and Balan Nair who still keep in touch with me.

Stills Noble Pappachan and Actor Balan Nair
To play the love interest of Sudheer we decided upon Rani Chandra who at the time was shooting for P.N.Menon.s film CHEMPARATHI. My self N.N.Pisharady and Aluva Thampy went to Kollam to contact Sudheer and Rani Chandra and get their dates for our film. That was my first meeting and she was a simple and friendly person. Though she was selected as Miss Kerala, I found her to be a typical Malayalee girl with curly hair and tanned skin with an out going nature. At Neela Hotel Bamboo bar we also had an eventful meeting with veteran Malayalam writer Kakkanadan too along with S.K.Nair playing host.
Rani Chandra
The Producer Issac Thomas played the role of  the Jesuit Principal of the college with ease and he later on acted in the film SWAPNADANAM as a Psychiatrist.

Producer Issac Thomas (sitting)
In the initial stages we had some problem in obtaining permission to shoot in  the college locations so we went to Mysore to do the shooting. The added attraction was the Film Subsidy of Rs.50,000 given by the Karnataka Government.We were travelling at night in car through the forest area and suddenly a lone tusker appeared blocking our road. On seeing it I was excited and shouted " Elephant"  P.J. Antony who was with us in the card scolded me for making noise as it was an wild elephant. We remained in the car with tension  till it moved away after a few minutes.

After doing some shooting we found Mysore also not suitable and returned to Alwaye where the film was shot.

Through the Mitchell Camera's Viewfinder
Director N.N. Pisharady was a pleasant man to work with, cool tempered and widely read person. He really wanted to make an interesting film. The censors chopped the film badly and the film failed at the box office as a result.For instance there was a comic character called Prof. Iyer in the film and most of his comedy dialogues were cut by a Brahmin censor board member who objected it on caste grounds.

Present New Generation film makers are credited with the trend in giving the film with English Titles. But way back in 1973, Director N.N. Pisharady had given his film the title  - "RAGGING" 

Film Data:

Banner: Hari Sree Productions
Producer : Issac Thomas
Director: N.N. Pisharady 
Cinematography: Ramachandra Babu
Editing: G.Venkitaraman
Screenplay: N.N. Pisharady 
Lyrics: P.J.Antony, Issac Thomas
Music: M.K. Arjunan
Cast: Vincent, Sudheer, P.J.Antony, Sankaradi, Balan Nair, Jameela Malik, Rani Chandra
Release date: 22-2-1973

Please go to  Malayalam Movie Data Base Page Here to listen to songs from the film

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