50 years of Glorious Color !
Not that Black & White was bad, ( am still a sucker for its other-worldly charm and depth ), but with Kandam Becha Coat [ The Pawned Coat], I feel Malayalam Cinema stepped into our own universe from its erstwhile dreamy celluloid one. Kandam Becha Coat, adapted from a play by the same name, was also the first directorial attempt of TR Sundaram ( and also his last, I think) in Malayalam. T R Sundaram’s Modern Theaters who produced the film, had interestingly produced the first color movie in Tamil too, Alibabavum Narpathu Thirudargalum (1955 ). Incidentally, it was Modern Theaters who also made the FIRST TALKIE in Malayalam, Balan (1938) !
Kandam Bacha Coat, was the first social ‘drama’ onscreen set amongst the Muslim community made for the screen, according to B Vijay Kumar, and was also the debut of Nellikkodu Bhaskaran, the legendary theater personality, and KT Mohammed’s first outing as script writer for the screen. Even though Kandam becha Coat ushered in a revolutionary experience onscreen, I guess it took at least a decade for Malayalam film production to whole-heartedly embrace the new technology. Even in this pioneering decade, the few notable color productions that could be recalled is Chemmeen (1966), Kalli Chellamma (1969) and Nadi (1969), according to me.
Kalli Chellamma‘s title cards proudly proclaim ORWO Color, which was one of the popular formats, I guess, of those times. Eastman Color smothered the market by mid – 70’s If am not mistaken, and ruled over for two decades with their signature tones. The main reason why I love the Vadakkan Pattukal on Celluloid 🙂 The Color, man, the color ! 🙂
A Quick Trip through Early Color.
Kalli Chellamma (1969)
The first Northern Ballad in Color from Udaya, Aromalunni (1972)
Here is the title track (if it could be called that) from Kandam Becha Coat.