Malayalam Cinema: Beginning

November 28th brings a birthday, and it is not just another birthday, but the date of birth of the man who is considered as the father of Malayalam Cinema, JC Daniel. He is maker of the first Malayalam film (even though it was a silent film like the rest of the flicks of that time), Vigathakumaran; meaning “the lost child” in the year 1928, it is the first Malayalam movie, and also the first movie to be made at this part of India. The Travancore National Pictures established by him at Trivandrum was also the first film studio in Kerala.

Vigathakumaran was followed by Marthanda Varma based on the 1891 Malayalam novel by C. V. Raman Pillai of the same name, but that came five years later. JC Daniel had to go through many hardships to bring the movie to the screen and also after the release, and so it was not really a path which the later movie makers were confident in following, even though his legacy has been accepted now, and Kerala Government introduced the Kerala State Film Award for Lifetime Achievement in his name as part of the Kerala State Film Awards from the year 1992.

Celluloid is the bipoic on which most of our information about the man is based.

Celluloid is the bipoic on which most of our information about the man is based.

All of these came very late, and the path after the release of movie was never smooth for the man, even though the film was one of its kind, dealing with a social issue rather than traveling the usual style of the other films of the time. With problems over a lower caste woman PK Rosy playing the heroine character far above her, the conservative sections of the society created big problems over the movie. The first actress of Malayalam Cinema didn’t have much to remember during her time.

As the movie couldn’t go on to become a commercial success at that time, the studio at Trivandrum had to be closed down and Daniel had to sell his belongings and leave, to live as dentist and go deeper into poverty in later stages. It wasn’t a fitting journey for the man who brought the cinema to Kerala. As the government earlier refused to give him the recognition as he was born and died in Tamil Nadu, it was the journalist Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan who worked for bringing the attention to the man behind the first Malayalam movie. It was late, but thanks to him, the deserved recognition arrived.

Most of the Keralites will know him now, thanks to the movie Celluloid from Kamal, starring Prithviraj Sukumaran in the role of JC Daniel and doing the same to perfection providing him the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor and the movie with the Best Film Award. The movie has Mamta Mohandas doing the role of his wife Janet, the newcomer Chandni in the role of Rosy and Sreenivasan performing the character of Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan. It is a movie which I recommend the most among the films of the last few years.

The awards to this biopic is part of the justice which is served to the man.

The awards to this biopic is part of the divine justice which is served to the man.

The movie was based on Life of J. C. Daniel, a biography of the man which was written by Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan and also Nashta Naayika by Vinu Abraham. Receiving also the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam, the movie made its point so well that by the end of the movie, people knew the man who was behind the first Malayalam movie, and this movie was a tribute to the man who did something which none other could dare to do at that time, as it was the big risk.

Some movies make the big impact and some don’t. The one special thing about Celluloid is that it released at a time when one just couldn’t be sure about its success. A lot of the viewers did have the doubt because the period drama wasn’t a preferred genre at that time, especially when it was not about kings and warriors. The situation is safer these days, with Iyobinte Pusthakam becoming a hit and Ennu Ninte Moideen becoming a success despite its slow pace. But the latter movie was a very safe bet as it released these days, and when considering the same, Celluloid is a true and righteous tribute to JC Daniel with its success well earned during difficult times.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie, Celluloid.

TeNy

The Choices of Life

Gillette Venus and BlogAdda want you to write about someone, a woman who made a journey from β€˜OR’ to β€˜AND’, the one who immediately comes to my mind is my mother. I would think that the same applies to many other people too, and I had always wanted to write something about her, and it is good to be given such an opportunity rather than keep thinking about it.

There are a few things that I have heard about her from her brothers and cousins. Among them, the most prominent one is about her double promotion in the school. It is something that I have not heard much about, but I know that only the best gets that. Another thing that I have known is that my grandparents wanted her to be a doctor as my grandfather himself was one. But yes, my mother always had better ideas.

That old wedding photo which serves as the "mandatory photo of the person" :D

That old wedding photo – half of it serves as the “mandatory photo of the person” πŸ˜€

Her first preference was always to get a job at a firm owned by the government, and for which she attended MA Sociology at Saint Teresa’s College, Cochin. Obviously, getting her married off was the need for her parents, especially as her sister was married off very early. But she made sure that she got a job right after her course making sure that it was not just an OR for her, but an AND – she was going to work and then get married.

It was not really the pattern to follow at that time among her relatives as there were not many working women among her close relatives, and neither would there be among my father’s family whom she was to marry after a few years. But she had chosen to be ahead of the age, and get that job at the Union Bank of India. That was her journey from OR to AND, not without difficulty, but with confidence.

On the day she retired, the rain never stopped for more than a few minutes :D

On the day she retired, even the rain never stopped for more than a few minutes πŸ˜€

She could follow her heart at that time period, and remains an inspiration for me when I struggle to follow mine. I am surprised at so many so called “achieving aunties” who think only about money twenty four hours a day, and I am glad to have a mother who acknowledges my right to study more, and also my privilege to stay single until I get settled in my way. There are always those relatives who are not ready to agree and pass on the judgments, and there is always one person who knows better; my mother. Now she has just retired after thirty seven years of service at the bank, after balancing her work and family life so well.

And then when it is the time to honour and celebrate the women in my life, there is just one who stands above the rest. Yes, there are not many other women who would let me share their stories and give me permission to put their photos on a blog too πŸ˜€ I had my difficulties in getting this photo too, but this was the better option as she didn’t want any of her newer photos to be used. Yes, this is also one of my favourite photos of my parents πŸ˜›

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus

I thank BlogAdda and Gillette for the opportunity to write on this topic. I acknowledge the tag of Ranjini for this blog post from http://rangelz.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/and-is-given-for-a-reason-use-it/. I also take this opportunity to tag Vartika, Tara, Namrata and Sagarika to share their awesome views on the topic. Click on this link to know more about it: http://blog.blogadda.com/2015/01/08/useyourand-break-free-with-gillette-venus-indian-women-bloggers. And don’t forget to acknowledge me in your posts. Thank you. *The photos used in this blog post are mine.

TeNy