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 !

The Songbook cover of Atmasakhi
Pix Credit : MSI

If this is reconfirmed with details that could be gleaned from the records at Kaumudi, it is going to correct the currently held belief of Marumakal being Prem Nazir’s debut film! And to know that the two legendary figures in Malayalam cinema, started together in the same film ! WoW !

Though Sathyan started shooting first for Thyagaseema, incidently his first signed contract for a movie was Odeyil Ninnu  (according to Chitrabhoomi), which seems strange and exaggerated ( I still cannot take it at face value) as it would take another 15 years to materialise ! Thankfully, it went on to become one of the most profound and enduring work in Sathyan’s acting career.

Indira Bayi Thankachi, an accomplished danseuse, proficient in mrudangam, tabla, veena and harmonium, is all of 75 years and lives a quiet life, in a quiet corner of Thiruvananthapuram city. She is also, the great grand-daughter of Irayimman Thampi.

Indira Bayi Thankachi, the heroine of Thyagaseema (1951)
Pix Credit & Rights : Indian Express/ Kaviyoor Santhosh

According to Aswathy Karnaver,

The 75-year-old Indira Bayi Thankachi is confused about the years and dates, but is touched by a tenderness when told that on June 15, it is 40th death anniversary of Sathyan, one of the heroes of her only cinematic outing that got stalled even before it took off.   Indira remembers very little of the shooting that took place in parts of Pulayanarkotta in the city. She faintly recollects a rest house where the actors and crew had camped. “I remember Sathyanesan as gentlemanly and reserved. Both he and Prem Nazir were very good-looking,” she shared the best of what the ageing memory allowed her to recollect.

This is something so exciting that I must have re-read the article over and over again. It also raises more questions or a set of to-do tasks that would make for a comprehensive fact sheet of the movie project called Thyagaseema (1951). One would be to get as many details of the movie and any existing script-sheets ( I can hope, can’t I ? ) and the timeline that ended up as a flaming wreck on Malayalam Cinema’s wayside. Another would be to map the way how Abdul Khader ended up from SB College, Changanacherry in 1951 in the presence of Kaumudi Chief Editor K. Balakrishnan. A whole lot of questions begging answers. Need to get to the bottom of it very soon.

Read the complete article by Aswathy Karnaver here.

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23 thoughts on “Prem Nazir and Sathyan debuted in the same movie. Wow !

  1. No doubt all these actors, Sathyan, Nazir, Madhu, Kottarakkara,Mammotty, Mohanlaletc are great artists. However, I reasonably think that Sathayan laid the foundation of natural acting for which he is rightly described as the Abhinaya Chakravarthy.

  2. just read the article…..what happened to that movie???why such an abrupt end?Want to know more about that movie …please help..

  3. Sathyan I think is the greatest actor that Malayalam Cinema ever produced. Mammooty, Mohallal et all have learnt a lot from Sathyan and modified in their own way. Sathyan , however is the foundation and thus the Greatest – the Emperor

  4. prem nazir and sathyan are the first super stars in malayalam cinema.I think sathyan master is an inborn actor and prem nazir sir is exactly a star or absalutely a croud puller and that is why he is known as EVER GREEN HERO.As a movie actor NAZIR is the most commercial hit man in the history malayalam cinema. It helped him to get the world record of acting maximam number of movies as HERO is an unbreakable record. SALUTE TO SATHYAN MASTER AND PREM NAZIR SIR TO GAVE MALAYALEE A MEMMORABLE , ENJOYABLE ERA.

  5. mr cm and ansari jee.. (if my memory is right) IT was THOKKUKAL KATHA PARAYUNNU and not KARINIZHAL (as mentioned by mr cm) it will be included in my articles abt some unforgettable works done by SATHYAN master on screen.

  6. i remember about one satyan masters movie with prem nazir. unfortunately l forgot the name of this film. the story is about owner and servent. Satyan is a business man and prem nazir is a servent in his house. and satyans daughter fall in love with prem nzr, when satyan knows about this, he take nzr to forest and kills him. also his daughter going that same area and comited suicide.. so pls if anyone knows about this storey.. pls let me know.

    1. Dear Ansari,
      If I recall right, the movie has to be Karinizhal (1971), one of Sathyan Master’s “lesser-known” gems. But Sathyan is a decorated Army Officer ( a Colonel) if I remember right, to whose house, Prem Nazir lands up as a domestic help.I could be wrong, but I have a strong feeling on this one. 🙂 Of course, our subject experts shouldn’t take much long getting to the root of this. :D..regards..cinematters

  7. Thanks a ton for the world of info….. The first true superstars of Malayalam… Sathyan and Nazir…. great to know that their debut movie was the same…… One thing worth mentioning here is that both of the stared together in many movies without any qualms about who got the meatier role…… So was the case with the heroines as well….Those were the days ……. am so nostalgic about some old movies that I’ve only heard about them from my Mom and Aunts…. wish we could get hold of atleast some of them….

  8. I always thought it was TyagaSeema which was not released and Marumakal was the first release. Nazir sir was more of a Star while Satyan Master was more of an actor. In a way I would not blame Nazir Sir for the monotony that CM has mentioned. According to sources he was acting anywhere from 12-15 movies a year. Moving from set to set..and changing characters shift to shift and late night dubbing. Oldtimers recall him as having excellent memory, being ready for shots with dialogues memorized. Also producers were more interested in making money from formula based movies, in which, his prescence could almost guarantee financial success. Also the very nice and friendly person he was, never wanting to offend anyone, he gave dates to almost anyone apporoaching him. In one of his last interviews in DD he said he was planning to act as an ageing underworld don in the near future as he had never acted as one and things were on track. I suspect this was the role in Naaduvazhikal, which came after his death.
    Mamookka once said when he was in the set of AP, he saw Satyan Master in deep sleep n one of the rooms durung a break. He went to Satyan Master who was sleeping and touched his feet to get his blessing.

    1. Dear Sibi,
      there is absolutely no doubt on the career choices that Prem Nazir took in his evergreen stint in Malayalam Cinema. maybe we needed someone like that, to express the romantic in us, or for that matter, of that generation 🙂 What has also amazed me (and riled me to a certain extent) is that this very fact of them debuting together has been common knowledge to a section of the old timers but hasn’t been shared anywhere. I have always believed Prem nazir was brilliant in his ‘roles of grey’ – he had a ‘chilling instability’ in the way he espoused those roles, Kalli Chellamma for instance. Of course, as you rightly pointed out, his prolific output, mostly based on the same template, surprisingly, never seemed to bore anyone. A minimum return at the box-office was a given. Sathyan, was th anti-thesis of all these. Come to think of it, we were lucky to have both of them :D. That little factoid on Mammootty was delightful. Thanks again..regards..cinematters

      1. Some people tell me that Nazir Sir held on for so long because of a lack of competition. I do not consider that to be true .Besides his box office returns he did movies for free for some prodcuers who did not recover their money. Primarily it is the returns that sustain stardom. People who were his wannabe competitors like Raghavan,Mohan,RaviKumar,RaviMenon,Sukumaran,Sudheer,Jose and even Kamal Hassan couldn’t really pose a challenge to his stardom.Most faded out These actors came in the early and mid 70s. Still Nazir Sir had 39 of his films released in 1979. Also those day there were no AMMA, MACTA etc for established groupism.

        1. Dear Sibi,

          The way i see it, old or new, a movie is ultimately a product that needs to be sold, with a shelf life. If you can guarantee that it sells, you are in demand. Simple. All other trappings are just, occupational ‘bonuses’ :D. Prem Nazir could sell, guarantee a fair return on the investments. 🙂 Just my two cents…regards..cinematters.

    2. NAZEER SIR’s FINAL AMBITION WAS TO DIRECT A MOVIE AND HE WANTED HIS FAVORITE STAR MOHANLAL TO DO THE HERO ROLE AND LAL WAS READY TO WORK WITH NAZEER SIR. SADLY THAT DIDNT HAPPEN AND NAZEER LEFT THIS WORLD WITH AN UNFULFILLED DREAM..

  9. All the current films stars should follow Prem Nazir & Satyan’s dedicated life in the film field. Actually they are the one who brought Malayalam film in the current level. But nobody realized this fact or intentionally ignore it

    1. Hi,
      Prem Nazir & Satyan worked on their own terms, set themselves along the prevailing industry standards and attempted to get the best of what they could in lieu of what they did with their talent. We should never forget that they were essentially actors, and by virtue silly putty in the hands of their directors. But I would credit Sathyan with trying to really push the envelope, explore wild frontiers in acting as compared to Prem Nazir who got stuck to the same monotony. Personally, a movie has to remain a director’s craft. I guess these days, its just tilted over, making stars out of actors. ..Thank you for writing in with your thoughts..regards..cinematters

    1. Dear Sunny,
      In retrospect , this seems to have been fairly common knowledge in the industry from the feedback I’ve received from people who read this, but the funny part is NO WHERE is it even mentioned about this fair suspicion. I hope atleast this be the beginning of getting more clarity into the fact of the matter. I’m sure if we dig deep into Kaumudi archives, we will come up with a convincing answer..Regards..cm

  10. Hi, glad to see my write-up on your site! Also glad to have found this wonderful website of yours, commendable work being done here! Thanks Cinematters 🙂
    Best
    Aswathy

    1. Hi Aswathy,
      What a pleasant surprise. My pleasure, absolutely 🙂 Glad that you liked what you read. This also makes it supremely important to track down that few lines of screenplay on which those few scenes must have been shot. So much to do 🙂 Thanks again..Regards..cinematters

  11. Wow Wow!
    Remember Mammooty telling, probably at a Sathyan memorial function that his first movie (as an extra ?) was Sathyans last

    1. :). It was,In Anubhavangangal Palichakal, as a face in the crowd that runs towards Bahadoor’s shop that is on fire. By some surreal play of time, the One about to leave the stage somehow had the One who would take centerstage in the near future accompanying along. :)..regards…cinematters

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