Of Malayasian plantations, thatched cinemas and hating Sathyan

Traditional Cinema Interiors of KeralaThe silver screen had always fascinated me right from childhood. I have heard stories about my mother’s childhood in the late 40s, when my uncle took his sisters, my mother and her siblings, for a “devotional/mythological” movie which released in the first talkies in their neighborhood. It was a tribute to bamboo pylons, teak struts, thatched roof and smelly Rexine seat backs for the privileged. And not knowing what a cinema really was, they sat facing the projector thinking that that’s where the action is. My uncle was so embarrassed that he didn’t know where to look. :) Continue reading

The Sathyan Tribute | Ravi from Mooladhanam (1969)

Sathyan and Sarada in Mooladhanam  (1969)

All the characters Sathyan played on screen were of strong men, all imbued with the special “Sathyan” touch which made them unforgettable. Most roles were, in my memory, tragic. However, one memorable character that he played, with the story ending on a positive note, was in Thoppil Bhasi‘s Mooladhanam (meaning Capital, as in Wealth). The story is based on Thoppil Bhasi’s own life experiences as a Communist Party worker during 1944-1946, of the sacrifices he had to make, in order for the mass struggle against the unjust rule of the Diwan be a success. Continue reading

The Sathyan Tribute | Pappu from Odayil Ninnu (1965)

Sathyan in Odayil Ninnu (1965)

It is no wonder that Babu, the 1971 Tamil film failed to do well despite having the Titan of Tamil cinema Sivaji Ganesan in the lead role. The film was a remake of the 1965 Malayalam film Odayil Ninnu, based on the novel of the same name by Keshava Dev. With all due respect to Nadigar Thilagam (I do have a very sweet spot in my heart for him) and at the cost of sounding sacrilegious to my brethren from across the border, I have to say this: the lead role in Malayalam was assayed by the incomparable Sathyan. Continue reading

The Sathyan Tribute | Chellappan from Anubhavangal Paalichakal (1971)

{ This part -personal, part incisive perspective on Anubhavangal Palichakal is by a dear friend who goes by the name of BlueGreenSalad :). Seriously.}
Anubhavangal Paalichakal Title (1971) I first saw this movie in my childhood, off a VHS cassette bought by Father during the early 80s, along with Yavanika, Muthassi, Vilaykyu Vangiya Veena, Kuttiydathey, Neelakuyil, Vivaahitha, Thulabhaaram, Elippathayam and a few other movies sold by V G Paneerdas in Bombay. My Dad and Mom were fans of actor Sathyan, having known him while residing in Madras during the mid-to-late 60s. Under their influence, I too, grew up to admire this actor and his quality and dedication to the art. When I saw this movie, I was struck by the reality it attempted to depict: gone were the tinsel sets, caked makeup, fancy costumes, bouffant hairdos, and even more fantastic stories. Here was a different story- something I grew to like. Continue reading

Prem Nazir and Sathyan debuted in the same movie. Wow !

Prem Nazir and Sathyan

Pix Credit : Chitrabhoomi

Of course, they were Abdul Khader and Sathyaneshan Nadar then. Aswathy Karnaver of the Indian Express has tracked down Indira Bayi Thankachi, the heroine of Thyagaseema (1951), the ill-fated debut movie of Sathyan, rolled out by Kaumudi Chief Editor K. Balakrishnan. It was also, sadly, her first and last stint under the arc lights performing for the silver screen. But what she has revealed to Ashwathy about the project is what surprised the pants off me. Apparently, along with Sathyaneshan Nadar, there was another incredibly handsome young man who went by the name of Abdul Khader in the project – our very own Prem Nazir ! Continue reading

Remembering Sathyan | The Videos

Actor Sathyan's Family Portrait

Pix Courtesy : Chitrabhoomi Magazine

Thanks to Soni for digging up a Youtube Channel called AsianetCableVision which had me hooked for a good amount of time unearthing little treasure soundbytes as this.  This is a three-part video from their ‘Ente Achan‘ ( My Father) Series, where the second generation of the illustrious ones that left a legacy in Kerala’s cultural landscape remember them as a father, far above the astral levels that we have kept them in our hearts. Continue reading

15 June 1971 | Remembering Sathyan

Sathyan

Pix Credit : Chitrabhoomi Special Edition June 2011

Sathyaneshan Nadar (11 November 1912 – 15 June 1971) aka Sathyan.

40 years on, Time still looks up in awe at this consummate actor who passionately lived for acting, than the ‘business’ of acting. What does Sathyan mean to someone who loves Malayalam films, or for that matters films in general? There is a whole lot of things and curiously, not one that you can actually point your finger and say, “THIS is what he stood for in Malayalam Cinema”. Continue reading