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 !
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.
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.