The debate of 1928 vs 1930 | Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan’s meticulous research weighed against a Handbill.

The Date of Screening of Vigathakumaran.
Atleast, for Me !

[ I would like to place on record the inspiring initiative by Adv Narayan, who has been tirelessly following up leads and collecting factual information to set Malayalam Cinema’s most debated part of history straight – that of the actual year of release of  The Lost Child / Vigathakumaran, the first film in Malayalam film history, and also to Saju Chelangatt ( son of Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan) who shared invaluable information on the  journalist’s quest.  This post, tries to put it all in perspective, so that this also becomes a starting point of further debates, discussions and possibly, as Narayan states, the gateway to laying our hands on actual memorabilia of the film itself – even a reel of it from some corner of the planet would be a possibility. ]

So, when was The Lost Child / Vigathakumaran screened for the first time – 1928 or 1930 ?

Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan
Pix Credit : Current Books

The intention of this rather long note is to lay  it out on the table, the facts, the percieved fabrications and how the latter have mostly drowned out the former that had been brought to light by meticulous research – in this regard, a respected veteran journalist’s life’s work. The objective is very clear – for any student of Malayalam cinema history who finds himsef/herself befuddled at the contradictory information on the year of release, this would  serve as a chronological guide on the way the information has come to stay that way, based on the information that I have been able to collate from various sources. The easiest point of reference to begin with would be,the researched  writings of  Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan, the veteran journalist. The way the historical date/year of the release of the first Malayalam movie stands now, the print, internet and visual media by now has 1928 and 1930 mentioned in equal measure, drowning out the ACTUAL information that had been consistently served for over a decade in the popular print medium, all due to two purportedly bits of information that ‘proved’ 1930 as the release year. If one looks at a rough timeline of this ‘historical fudging’, it would resemble on these lines.

1960 – 90’s.

Redeeming and reinstating JC Daniel’s rightful place in Malayalam Film history.

Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan's article in Screen Film Magazine - 1973
October 19, 1973 | Screen Film Magazine. { Click to Read the Complete Article.}

There can be absolutely no dispute when it comes to acknowledging the single-minded determination of a film journalist and humanist who literally rescued the father of Malayalam cinema from obscurity and through his sustained campaign, finally made the state machinery grudgingly admit and accept his contribution to Malayalam film industry. True, there have been local historians and cineastes  with a historic bend of mind who had pursued ( and still do ) the origins of the first Malayalam film and its creator on their own terms in their personal quests, but none could even hold a candle to Chelangatt’s sustained campaign on three fronts. He was at the same time fighting three battles – on behalf of the Daniel couple with the state government to accord him the due recognition as the father of Malayalam cinema, with the State exchequer to allocate him an incremental amount as monthly financial assistance, and with the regimented media who kept parroting  TR Sundaram ( producer of Balan, our first talkie ) as the Father of Malayalam Cinema. His first article on the existence of JC Daniel and the details of Vigathakumaran/The Lost Child came out in 1968, published in Malayali, a popular magazine published from   Thiruvananthapuram, of which he was the Chief Editor. A torrent of articles in the same vein followed to almost all film magazines that were published in South India.  Each one of them said exactly the same thing – Vigathakumaran/The Lost Child was first screened on November 7, 1928. Though it took its own sweet time, in the face of hard evidence, and after some useless stone-walling, the government finally caved in. But JC Daniel never lived to see that – he died in abject penury, a broken man, on May 29, 1975. It took close to two decades  for the government  to make it official –  The JC Daniel Award was instituted in 1992, with legendary film maker TE Vasudevan chosen as the first honorary recipient. Through out  the two decades, right from meeting JC Daniel till his recognition, Chelangattu Gopalakrishnan consistently repeated in all his articles and official communications on the date of the release of Vigathakumaran/The Lost Child as being November 7, 1928. It was based on this that the State government even fixed the year 2003 to celebrate the 75 years of Malayalam cinema as the theme for the VIIIth edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala from 12 – 19 December, 2003. According to Saju Chelangatt, it was during the eve of this grand celebration that  a hand-bill/pamphlet purported to be the publicity material of Vigathakumaran/The Lost Child surfaced, supposedly by Kunnukuzhy Mani, local film historian, which showed October 23, 1930 as the release date !

The 2000’s.

A ‘Xerox Copy from 1930‘ and other references from the Past .

The Movie Invite of Vigathakumaran (1928)
Pix Credit & Rights : CURRENT BOOKS

The above handbill/pamphlet that is said to have surfaced during the VIII IFFK (2003) made enough noise to have it picked up by media houses, who gleefully ran with the story,  and from then on, has been bandied about so much in the Malayalam media in terms of historical context, on par with Chelangatt’s historical fact of November 7, 1928. that, at some point of time in the past decade, it started over-shadowing the two decades of meticulous research put in by Chelangatt Ramakrishnan. There is also a reference of  “a news report that appeared in the Deepika of 23 October 1930, covering the release of the film” that has been repeated often by R. Gopalakrishnan, who went on to make a documentary on JC Daniel in 2006, called The Lost Life in which he repeats the year as 1930.

From the Lost Life, made by R Gopalakrishnan.

Check out 1:59.

[ Arguably the first ‘integration’ and thereby legitimising of this ‘new date’ into the visual media. He had also mentioned this new date on record, in The Hindu,  on the eve of the documentary’s completion, on Feb 24, 2006. In a cover feature done on him by Malayala Manorama in its Shree pullout, dated 29 January, 2006, he  repeats this 1930 argument quoting  the above Handbill and also adds, “അക്കാലത്തെ പത്രങ്ങള്‍ പരിശോധിച്ചപ്പോഴും മേല്പറഞ്ഞ തീയതിയില്‍ തന്നെയാണ് സിനിമ റിലീസ് ചെയ്തതെന്ന് ബോധ്യപ്പെട്ടു.” The news periodicals ( dailies/newspapers  were  non-existent for the times) available at Trivandrum were Kerala Kaumudi ( periodical), Malayali and Malayala Rajyam, as far as I could gather. There could be more. Deepika ( Nazrani Deepika then ) was published from Mannanam till it shifted to Kottayam in 1939. { * If anyone reading this has access or could find access to any of these folded up/still in print news archives, it would be fantastic if you could get a scanned image of those articles and send it to That would be precious. }

Update : 27 February 2013.

Deepika republished the news article of Vigathakumaran from its Nazrani Deepika archives. Thanks Jayesh for bringing it here.                { Please click on the image for optimal readability.}

Deepika's report  on JC Daniel's Vigathakumaran

What bugs me about this “New found evidence”.

The entire argument of this new date revolves around this Hand Bill/invite of the movie of which only a copy exists ! The original archival document of which this copy has been made has NEVER been mentioned anywhere. In the article that came in Malayala Manorama Shree, R Gopalakrishnan mentions about archival material that he was able to collect from the possession of Janet Daniel ( Mrs JC Daniel ) but he does not mention whether this bill too came from her. If it was, then it begs the question – How on earth could a meticulous researcher and journalist have missed this crucial aspect in his interactions with JC Daniel in person ? Going by the same logic, every single aspect that JC Daniel spoke to Chelangatt Ramakrishnan has to be verified again, isn’t it ? And whatever remained and had been bequeathed to Janet would have been passed on from the great man himself, and he would have been the first person to show Chelangatt this, if ever he had it in person ! Every single record chronicled by Chelangatt says November 7, 1928. And to top it all, a decade after it surfaced, Kunnukuzhi Mani comes around expressing doubts on the “authenticity” of this Handbill ! I could confidently say, to date, this Handbill’s source has NEVER been verified or authenticated by any single journalist who  ran the story. How bizarre can it be ?

2. The ‘mythical’ news report that appeared in the Deepika of 23 October 1930, covering the release of the film has never been presented or printed anywhere as a scanned image, or been reproduced ANYWHERE in the media, not even substantiating the argument ! I would really, really love to see that from the Deepika archives, if it exists. But enough damage has been done already.

The Historical Damage(?)

In Print Media.

The mention about this new date in Malayala Manorama and The Hindu have already been mentioned there, and the latter is available on the web, as a referral document, and being The Hindu, one takes it as bonafide, vetted information. What has been more damaging is that this relentless, shall I say, misinformation repeated ever so often even influenced the publishers of Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan’s  Biography of JC Daniel that they wanted the entire set of dates mentioned in his original manuscripts be changed to this new date on the handbill because they felt this unverified ‘historical document’  was more reliable than a life time of research by Chelangatt Gopalkrishnan.

JC Daniel's Biography by Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan It was convenient for them too to present Chelangatt’s original research in the way they deemed fit as Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan had passed away on June 4, 2010.  The book came out in July 2011, and carries this date this date across the book, which was NEVER written by the author. The publishers also deemed it fit to include this Handbill amongst other historical documents and photographs given in the book in its Addendum, giving the impression that this was also a part of Chelangatt Gopalkrishnan’s precious finds. It isn’t ! It has NOTHING to do with the author.

All it does is willfully misguide you, and ply you with misinformation, with a document that Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan had NO CLUE about in the first place. It uncannily reminds you of that certain quote by The Reich’s Master of Propaganda, “That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result. It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.” And success, it has been. So if you are planning to buy a copy of this book, I would suggest you to wait till they bring out its next edition, with the content reverted to the original writings of Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan and the Handbill removed from the biography’s photo gallery.

A reasonable number of “conversations” must have happened in the web publishing front too, since then, though the State machinery has thankfully stuck to its guns, possibly out of sheer sloth or inertia, and the government still sticks to Chelangatt’s original submissions.  

In Visual Media.

1. Documentaries.

There have been two documentaries, to my knowledge, that have been based on the life and times of JC Daniel, the father of Malayalam cinema, The Lost Life (2006) directed by R Gopalakrishnan and The Lost Child ( 2012) directed by Kiran Ravindran.

a. The Lost Life  by R Gopalakrishnan (2006).

A 20-odd minute long documentary that chronicles the life and times of JC Daniel, and also reiterates the date of release of Vigathakumaran/ The Lost Child as October 23, 1930 based on the Handbill/Invite.

b. Ithu Rosyude Katha by Kanjiramkulam Sanal ( 2011 )

Updated February 3rd, 2012, courtesy Adv Narayan. The 39 minutes long documentary directed by Kanjiramkulam Sanal focuses on Rosy, the first heroine of Malayalam films and explores her life post-Vigathakumaran through historical  factoids.

c. The Lost Child by Kiran Ravindran ( 2012 )

A 56 – minute documentary  on the life and contributions of Dr J C Daniel, the father of Malayalam cinema. No details are available online and according to what  Adv Narayan has shared based on his conversations with the director, the documentary upholds Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan’s finding of 7 November, 1928, with some vociferous support from movie critics like Vijayakrishnan who speaks on record about the whole “episode”.

2. Feature productions.

a. Vigatha Kumaran/The Lost Child (Redux )

JC Daniel’s Vigathakumaran/The Lost Child was “re-created/ remade” with the modern technology and film-making techniques available – though the year of release of the re-creation seems a bit disputed, with Malayala Sangeetham Info showing 2003 and Cinemalayalam displaying 2002. It was produced and directed by Kowdiar Das.

b. Celluloid by Kamal  (2013).

Arguably, this biopic on JC Daniel would be the biggest and slated to be the most influential ( in formulating public opinion and perception ) once released, especially with its A-list actors in the cast and some of Malayalam film industry’s veterans helming its production, based on Vinu Abraham’s book, Nashta Nayika, on Rosy, the heroine of Vighathakumaran. Director Kamal also has stuck to the “new” October 23, 1930 as the date of release of Vigatha Kumaran in the production, as is evident from the teaser of the movie. Call it irresponsible or outright bizarre, the biopic has Srinivasan essaying the role of Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan who has never associated himself with this date as the date of Vigathakumaran/ The Lost Child’s release.

Kamal himself speaks about the pre-production efforts of the movie, stating 1928 as the year of Vigathakumaran/The Lost Child’s making in a video available on the web.

Director Kamal on JC Daniel.

He says it right there at 0:23. This video was posted on the web in December, 2012. I presume shooting must have been on by this time for the movie, and the biopic’s trailer was released soon after. And guess what the movie he directed tells us ?

The Trailer of Celluloid (2013)

For those who missed that shot at 0:09 of the Movie’s publicity bill, I have added a screen grab below which clearly shows the date in it.
Celluloid 2013 film trailer with the wrong date of release

So much for diligent research and responsibility, if you ask me. It goes from bizarre to pure senselessness when one looks at the fact that it is a movie that also chronicles the efforts of Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan in rewriting Malayalam film history, with NO mention of the crucial date of the movie release he diligently recorded, based on conversations with JC Daniel himself ! This movie, once released, will go on to be a source of information in popular movie culture for anyone who would want to learn about the father of Malayalam cinema. Forget us, think of a child 5 generations into the future, interested in Malayalam film history, pulling out a video file of this movie, watching it and forming the opinion of Malayalam movie history beginning from October 23, 1930, based on an unverified document ! Wouldn’t it be criminal, this dissemination of misinformation ?

I really, really hope that he goes back and edits/reshoots the parts of the movie that goes against the recorded history of Malayalam cinema, atleast for the sake of holding true to the original research and findings of the character that is portrayed in the biopic called Celluloid (2013 ).

A Short Video feature on Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan.  

Please do write in with your thoughts.

Related :  The Kerala Movie Studio Legacy | JC Daniel’s The Travancore National Pictures

104 thoughts on “The debate of 1928 vs 1930 | Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan’s meticulous research weighed against a Handbill.

  1. Please find the details of news in HINDU newspaper on Dec 15 2003

    Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
    Monday, Dec 15, 2003

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    Southern States – Kerala-Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page Send this Article to a Friend

    Platinum Jubilee: Did historian err in dates?

    By N. J. Nair

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM Dec. 14. While the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy is going ahead with the platinum jubilee celebrations of Malayalam cinema, mainly on the basis of a film history written by the journalist, Chelangad Gopalakrishnan, Mr. Gopalakrishnan has said that he has no documentary evidence in support of his assumption that the first Malayalam film, `Vigatha Kumaran,’ was released in 1928.

    When contacted, Mr. Gopalakrishnan told The Hindu today that he had put the date as 1928 recollecting an interview he had with the late J.C. Daniel, the producer of `Vigatha Kumaran’, many years ago. “I have no documents to back me up, but I recollect Daniel telling me during the interview that the film was released in 1928”, he said.

    Mr. Gopalakrishnan, who was working as sub-editor with a regional daily, is now residing in Alappuzha. While the academy has started the celebrations reportedly on the basis of the history written by Mr. Gopalakrishnan, a book written by the film critic, Vijayakrishnan, certain seniors in the industry as well as three Government publications have given the date as 1930.

    A book, `Malayalam Cinema’, written by K. V. Ramankutty and published by the Public Relations Department, `Adhunika Malayalam Cinema’, published by the State Institute of Languages in 1989, and the `Essays on the cultural formation of Kerala’, published by the Kerala Gazetteers Department in 1999, say that `Vigatha Kumaran’ was released in 1930.

    According to the noted historian, M. G. S. Narayanan, if there was a discrepancy in the dates, either the Government publications should correct the mistake or the academy should set aside the celebrations.

    The eminent historian, Sreedhara Menon, criticised the tendency to draw conclusions about history on the basis of a mere guess. “One cannot go by opinion or speculation. Only facts constitute history,” he said.

    The chairman of the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), P. J. Cherian, said that the academy should have ascertained the facts and collected documentary evidence before starting the celebrations.

    “Oral evidence alone would not suffice. If history has been distorted, it is a serious mistake. The academy should consider the opinion of the academicians and gracefully correct the mistake if it has gone wrong,” he said.

          1. Dear Rajesh,
            In a conversation with Saju Chelangat, last November (thanks to Narayan), he had mentioned this with a heavy heart. This will, go in circles for a while before dying out, to be revived maybe at some point in the future, in a related argument in the public domain 🙂 As far as the comments are concerned, let it hit 200 and keep climbing. More the responses, livelier and enlightening the discussion. Thanks, cm

  2. Yesterday i got hold of Vinu Abraham’s novel “Nashta Nayika”, an excellent novel, i have started with the same inspite of heavy work load at hand, will update with my comments and analysis, as it seems to be well-written with zeal to culture young minds.

  3. Dear Narayanji

    I am still awaiting the result of possible meeting between Ms.Susie with Sundharam Daniel’s family in Australia
    Please update on this

    1. I think this is a message which Ms. Susie can answer…and I too await with baited breath her reply and search results.
      In the meantime, here is another news that i saw in the newspaper-it seems that the success of Celluloid now prompts another film maker to make a film about Rosie. The PK Rosie Smaraka Samathi has decided to make such a movie and the director it seems is Devaprasad- think it’s a debutant. I read this news in Manorama Newspaper of 6th March.

      1. Dear Narayan,
        Susie got back with the preliminary search results – that they had shifted out from the current address available long ago with no forwarding address given. She is getting the help of the local expat community chapters to get more details. She is active at it. Thanks. Regarding the PK Rosie movie, all I can see is that of another case of “milking the franchise dry”. Hope it doesn’t turn out to be another trainwreck like Kowdiar Das’s. Thanks, cm

        1. oopsss.. why are there are soooooo many hurdles, many stumbling blocks whenever one goes into the legacy of JC Daniel. Ms. Susie – all the best- our prayers are with you for your success

          1. It doesn’t matter, this happens whenever a treasure is sought after, God rewards those who are genuine and thus tests the veracity of the efforts in successive stages

            Ms.Susie will succeed, we will have something at the end of the tunnel

            I am dead sure that the family of Sundharam Daniel is secretly preserving the Indian asset with great care as per the late Sundharam’s last wishes
            He is sure to keep at ;east a piece of a reel showing himself as a record for future generations of his, he was old enough to think like that and surely he might have fooled boyish Harris with a photo or so of Chinnappa, and then carried the same to Ceylon and then to Australia, preserved the same as it is an Indian asset stolen, remained silent because of ramifications of the news once given out to the world, might have given instructions to his wife and children for continued preservation

            In an earlier post, i have pointed out Harris telling the camera that he used to exchange good parts of Vigatha Kumaran with his friends and also with his elder brother for filmy photos of his hero, Chinnappa in early 1940s
            Hence let us contiune with these leads and find out the new address of the Daniels
            Let all moral support be imparted to Ms.Susie in that foreign country

          2. and yeah…if ever we get hold of this movie- we should ask some producer director to make a sequel to CELLULOID- the hunt for the lost copy of a cinema. …better still I have a good mind to call it National Treasure III.
            And don’t think, the factor of “taking an Indian artifact abroad” might have weighed too much on Sundaram’s mind- it was more of preserving his film, his legaqcy. And going through various documentaries- i am convinced- there existed poor inter-se relationship b/w JC Daniel’s sons and daughters. And so even if a print is available Sundaram might not have shared/ given to Harris or Lalitha Henry Daniel.

    2. just now read the March 3rd issue of Kalakaumudi whih features an interview with Kamal. a glaring mistake and by glaring i mean GLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARING. the picture they have provided as that of Daniel is that of Reddiar- the owner of Capitol theatre wherein the movie Vigathakuymaran was first shown. the photograph of the lady captioned “daughter of Daniel” is Hemalataha- daughter of Reddiar.

      The next issue of Malayalam Varikha is devoted to arguments for and against the article by Thottam rajasekharan -“AAranu ee Daniel”. I shall sure be buying a copy of the same.
      I also got hold of a book written by him CINEAM: KALAYUM JEEVITHAVUM (Thottam publishers 2010- rs. 550/)a massive treatise about cineam running to 723 pages. i apprciate and bow my head beofre his efforts. bud sadly, in the section on malayalam cineam not even a whisper is made about Vigathakumaran or Marthandavarma…. the section starts with Balan.

      1. Dear Narayan,
        Would love to read the article, a scanned image would be welcome, in your time.As far as “glaring” goes, aren’t we living in the middle of it ? 🙂 With Malayalam Varika, is this the same Samakalika Malayalam ? Also, Susie has got back from her quest in getting in touch with teh First Family of Malayalam Film Industry. She says the immediate family has been so hassled and harassed via telephone calls and via e-mails for interviews and details that they have shut themselves off from any contact/inquiries pertaining to Vigathakumaran. Regardless, she has left them her number and asked them to contact if ever they would want to reach out and share. Regards, cinematters

        1. wow…the first good news from Susie. wonder who contacted them via emails/ telephones. Are there other vigathakumaran seekers out there- other than those in OMC. Will soon scan all articles pertaining to jc daniel/ celluloid and forward the same

          1. I would like to inform you that a friend of mine who is part of a registered and active film society in Alappuzha has passed the information that a good sitting of the film society has appreciated Kamal, Vinu Abraham and Saju Chelangattu, they are planning to hold a public forum soon with these three in chair
            They started a campaign to conduct social criticism about the subject matter and that there is a tendency among youth to come forward with arguments supportive of truth and against the newly created twist of the paid wiriters to distort the same, very soon a similar film society in Kochi will be taking up the matter
            I would suggest that OMC be explorative in the sense that Ravindran Chinnalode, retired Akashvani person who did the radio series called Malayala Cinemayude flashback be contacted at TVM and be made part of OMC, as he is also another truth monger, a genuine man with a mine of information, i hope R.Gopalakrishnan sir also come out with his website soon
            I am making a comapartitve study of Phalke, Daniel and Griffith for my writing project so that the readers on a global perspective can making an evaluate of the pains involved in being a pioneer, an innovator, i hope the recently procured articles on the side of OMC will help the endeavour

        2. Great achivement and hats off for the fighter in Susie, very much unlike an average mallu mental frame, a real milestone in our struggle,
          Sundharam Daniel family has turned out to be a typical mallu system, is not a all bothered of truth, cannot come out of the shell, okay this typical of all those educated mallus, who cannot be taking risks of socially responsible, they feel that these are all their private matters which cannot be shared.
          I hope and belive that today or tomorrow Susie will find out something from some member of that family, that will help us and the society at large.It is a matter of time to convince them that this is social cause and never a private affair, and that nobody wish to harass them

        3. This also shows the impact of the movie in distant Australia, of course some are there inspitre of us to get at the truth of the print
          OMC is not alone, if their word is to be taken as reliable
          If there are opting to remain in the shell, then also we can say the movie has hit them hard, truth is stranger than fiction, it makes us dizzy, sometimes force us to relieve it from us

      2. It is a relief to find a post after a few days from Narayanji and am happy for that, i have seen the grand work of Thottam Rajasekharan at a book stall in Kochi on 26th march, a masterpiece, something like an encyclopedia, i went through the portion on malayalm cinema and as usual, as typical of the other malayali researchers who wish to go by the beaten track, has started with Balan and T.R.Sunndaram.I was promised by the shopkeeper that a copy will be procured next week at a reduced price as it is month end now.
        Thottam Rajasekhar’s extensive work on cinema as such is exhaustive and splendid and when it came to his native language cinema, he preferrred to be taking lesser pains in making a start, taking the line left by Malayattoor Ramakrishnan, his forerunner in civil service, this is the stand taken by many a retired civil servants,Thottam retired as P.R.D of Govt of Kerala (Public Relations Director) and is obviously for the beaurocrasy which till 1992 opted to follow the beaten track.He is a bureaucrat even after the bonds with Govt is over, regarding the official view of Daniel and Vigatha Kumaran, though his predecessor wrote and published YANTHRAM and SERVICE STORY after retirement with elements of sarcasm and truth in it.
        There is a tendency in man to be vociforous about the whole world and be sereve regarding one’s own family, never apply the same standards of social criticism and truth mongering, we mallus are conservatives inspite of all the modern education we possess.It is impossible to compare Thottam to C, as it is difficult to be C, and risk many material returns for fighting for truth, it is wiser and opportunate to be one with the old bureaucrat which stood and is standing for certain established truth, very rarely we find real fighters among them, once in a while we find a C.P.Nair, a Seshan, a Khairnar, a Kiran Bedi, a Alphonse Kannanthanam who can take risks for truth.Thottam is never a rarity, though he has applied his brain for truth elsewhere, for the distant facts of cinema, for the global cinema.I even had an argument with the distributor person of his work, who also said that what is written by the ex-P.R.D may be truth, the truth that is accepted as truth so far as our cinema is concerned.
        Let us make logical deductions, as in my case, i rarely came across a bureaucrat, seniors who said that Netaji did not die in 1945, they were all for the air crash story, which the G.O.I is still maintaining inspite of the latest commission report going against the same, an the findings world-over is for a life after the fake crash, this is BUREACRACY

      3. read this week’s samakalaika Malayalam varikha with indepth articles by director Vijayakrishnan, Saju Chelangattu and by Kunnukuzhi Mani. They have literally thrashed the writings of Thottam Rajasekharan. All three are in unison regarding why Thottam is so reluctant to accept that a movie named vigatahkumaran was made in 1928 (or 1930) and why is he holding steadfast to his argument that Malayalam cinema started with Balan.
        And another interesting information i got was that – in a reference to the Nazrani Deepika article, the person who wrote the same Gopinath- it seems had later acted in Balan in 1938.

        1. They have not thrashed, they have banged, thwrated the effort to bury Daniel’s legacy
          Still the hang-overs of the past allergy cum hatred is persising in mallu society
          I wonder when will mallu change inspite of all the education acquired over centuries, universal democratic education ever since 1950 safegaurded by the constitution of the country

  4. Yes Narayanji , i am in that work since Celluloid came out
    Today i had correspondence with CM also
    I wish to upload my work in our blog by May end of the current year
    CM has agreed to it and let it be a e-book for the cultural world to read and evaluate
    I expect your support as well

    1. wow…my support will be there for your venture. I can also put you in touch with others who have knowledge about vigathakumaran, old sarada vilasam etc. please do email me if required- my email id is with our CM. i am not writing the same over here in public forum

    2. I support this argument because Harris depicted in flying colours in Celluloid is in fact not an accountable person, as i have cross-checked between the 2006 documentary video with the MM sunday supplement of 03/03/2013.
      If at all Sundharam had a part of the movie, he would have never shared it with his siblings.In fact it was he who used to sent some money occasionally to his parents in those days of poverty.
      He was only three when the movie was shot and he knew the pains involved ever since, he never destroyed it as a lad, in early 1940s when Harris was 6 or 7, he was in his late teens, of course he might have taken a part of the reels.
      The fire that destroyed the entire reels would have destroyed the house even, then it was not a major fire as shown in Celluloid, Harris destroyed the reels taking days and months, exchanged some parts with his playmates at Rajapalayam, surely Sundharam might have noticed all these being the eldest and almost a youth

      Let us hope and pray that the remains are with Olive, her daughter anf her son-in-law, if so the next step ought to get Ganesh Kumar in line with them, with a firm comitment to take over the same in Govt expense, a copy be preserved by Ms.Susie and OMC, the master reels or parts to be taken over by Govt of Kerala or Govt of India to be given to Pune NAFI. This is what is required, the story of susie’s efforts be communocated to media on a parallel arrangement, giving her all credit.We must have a copy and the Govt the master reels for preservation and archiving.

      An addition to Celluloid and all, if this succeed is for them, the creative art world to decide and act upon, we can be supportive of such initiative, but it is not sensible to venture for such a deed

      1. Hope Ms. Susie is reading these words. We look forward to hearing from her sooner…rather than later on her efforts. praying, keeping fingers crossed, touch wood…..

        1. Dear Narayan,
          She is certainly keeping herself updated and pulling out all stops in following the slimmest of leads. We can only hope.Thanks, cinematters

  5. I have got two observations to make,

    1.Harris Daniel is shown in the documentary, in the part-3 of Lost Life telling that some parts of those reels were in fact exchanged with his friends as lads as well as with his eldderly brother as a game in return for small film parts of his hero, P.U.Chinnappa
    Hence it can be inferred that all the reels were not burnt

    2.He in the interview with MM persons (sunday supplement published last sunday, 03/03/2013) says that Chelangattu sir approached him for making the biography of hid Father which is wrong and distrortion

    In fact he has told a truth in 2006 and a lie in 2013, he truth will be a good lead and the lie a befitting reminder about his dubious character hiding facts, something is fishy about him.
    We have to be really serious in finding out the remains

    1. the debate of 1928 or 1930…the research of Chelangattu reaches another level with an article by Mannarkadu Mathew n this weeks Kalakaumudi Magazine (2013 March 17). Shri. mathew says about the efforts he took to trace down JC Daniel way back in 1973 and that it is the photo Malayala Manorama team took in 1973 that is still being used to show JC Daniel in old age including the cover of Chelangattu’s book.
      he also narrates about how the print of Marthandavarma was traced out and how a team effort paved way for its restoration. quoting form an article shri. mathew wrote in 1973- he says that the studio was established 47 years back from this date (1973). Mr. Matehw also points out several historical and factual inconsistencies in CELLULOID.
      Hope that Mr. Mathew would be able to chronicle his efforts of tracing down Marthandavarma in the form a book

      1. and one more most important thing. Reminscing about 1973 Manarakdau mathew comments that when he met JC Daniel and his wife- Janet had told him that Daniel had kept safe a few reels of Vigathakumaran safe for old time sake and that all of the film print was not destroyed. She doesnt remember what happened to it. yippee…. will we see light at the end of the tunnel??????? …or are we speaking too soon………….

        1. It is not advisable to take the comments of Manarcadu Mathew as i do not find him accountable for various genuine reasons,
          1.Chelangattu is the genuine authentic person to be relied upon as per many learned and genuine cine personalities including Adoor Gopalakrishnan, his bonafides are unquestionable, he cannot be a fraud, very much commited and sincere and had suffered a lot for standing for truth, faught an entire state machinery for truth, cannot be part of a fraud or himself a fraud
          2.C published about J.C.D first in Malayali and this was in 1968, i think, Mathew did do something in 1973, of course C did not photograph, and if Mathew was that touched then why he did not take up the matter with the bureacracy or at ministerial level
          3.T.K.Nair is still alive and he can testify about who all consulted him and how did he come to know of Marthanda Varma’s reels.If he says the truth, then this can be verified
          4.In today’s consumeristic world, even old people with old ethos of life can be purchased with a few thousand s of dollars, Mathew also is no exception

          Taking all these into consideration, i count the hue and cry launched by him now in the post Celluloid movie fame and Muraleedharan’s capitulation, to be an orchestrated campaign to protect the old guard both the bureacracy and all the evils connected, also the politicians who denied justice and still denying the same

          C is attacked to protect it, them and above all a system rooted in injustice and untruth.C is attacked to belittle Daniel legacy which is slowly taking roots in the mind of youth of today.VESTED INTERESTS ARE AT WORK

        2. Dear Narayan,
          I have learned to take most of everything with a generous helping of salt 🙂 when it comes to the history of Kerala in general. I guess, its more peaceful to be the doubting Thomas till categorically proved otherwise. And then again, we hope against hope :D. Thanks, cm

      2. Dear Narayan,
        I am yet to get hold of a copy of that magazine or yet to read the article. Any chance of bundling it and sending it across, as and when possible ?Thanks, cm

        1. Dear CM

          I have the hard copy of Kalakoumudi but I can scan send you on monday only. A related article have came in manorama by manarkadu and there was a reply by Mr Saju. I m forwarding that to your mail id. Please check
          Jayesh Sebastian

          1. The truth about the matter can be ascertained through a meeting with Shri.T.K.Nair who is alive and was the curator of the Archives at Pune in 1973
            The book on movie industry in kerala by C which was published in 1968 bear a full chapter on J.C.Daniel and C’s encounters with him in the same year.This book is available and is in public record.Kindly subject the same for a cross-checking.The article published in Malayali which is now defunct cannot be procured as a copy that issue in which the C published the first article on Daniel is yet to be retrieved, hence the book published in the same 1968 is to be taken as proof.
            Mr.Mathew’s report with photo was published in 1973 and now reproduced, which is the earlier one, 1968 or that of 1973.
            Let us make logical deductions, hence we have to give due recognition to what was actu

      3. yet another article lambasting chelangattu and his efforts….this time in Malayalam Varikha dated 22nd March 2013….”Aarunu ee Daniel”….by Thottam Rajasekharan. he disputes even the honour attributed to Daniel as father of malayalam cinema. he also comments that an application was never ever received by Malayattor on Daniel for him to take a negative view. good article…but my question is why where these persons silent when 20 years back the Kerla Govt. decided to confer the title of Father of Malayalam Cinema to JC Daniel…why did they keep mum when Chelangattu’s book came out couple of years back? Now Daniel, Chelangattu, Malayattor- they are no longer with us to deny or justify or support or oppose……

        1. They were silent then because in 1992, there was no social interaction on Daniel and the truth, now when the so-called vested interests in mallu society found that the movie has made an impact, a deep impact in society, especially among the young generation, they are afraid of getting the status quo broken, they were always afraid of that.
          Now celluloid has won the national award also, for the best malayalam feature film, national film awards decalred yesterday.
          We will come across more attacks, more attacks for sure, new men and women writers will be at work,paid work, petty propaganda work for the VESTED INTERESTS IN MALLU SOCIETY, in fact we have to rejoice that they are shacken in side, what was not accomplished so far, has now been accomplished.

          However, the picture of truth is bright in the conscience of the youth, i know personally dozens of boys who really talk seriously about those days and the pains involved in the life of real truth seekers and history makers

          I am not a paid writer, neither i am for the vested interests, my work will be made in the final shape of course in the last week of may 2013, i have almost finished collecting the study materials, making rough notes, now let me put all these in proper writing

          1. Celluloid has won the best malayalam feature film award from Govt of India, hence awarded and recognised by both Kerala and Indian Govts.It got the recognition as the story line was accepted by the respective jury, the story line is about the Daniel who himself is negated by some of today’s journalist stars, orchestrated stars, well let these penmen write that the story is a fiction, and that there were never a Chelangattu Gopalakrishnan or Daniel, it is all the brain child of Kamal, who has now entered history make use of foul means, let them write as they have a million pen and a billion bottles of ink, all purchased with the money of their hidden cowardly masters, let them come on mini screen lecturing that T.R.Sundharam is the Father of malayalam movies, let them say that Phadke is not the Father of Indian cinema and let them negate D.W.Griffith, Charlie Chaplin and others who paved the foundation of world cinema, let them say and also write that history is just for today, what happened yesterday is not truth, today is final and that there is no need of future, no need for a full stature, piece meal is everything, let them be brave enough to proclaim that it is they and their masters who are the only palyers in human society and the rest are just dead bodies

  6. just read in today’s movies in Mathrubhumi Newspaper (March 3rd) that VIGATHAKUMARAN is being telecast at 9:30 pm in Kairali We Channel. I think this is the remake made by Kowdiar Das (and the one which I have not seen). Hope somebody can record the same for posterity

    1. It was a Sunday. My daughter’s exams got over yesterday…had planned a late evening out- dinner from some fancy restaurant with beevi and the kids….until I saw today morn’s newspaper- Vigathakumaran. I was counting the hours, eagerly waiting for 9:30 pm- cancelled all the plans and was glued right in front of the tv with family at 9:30 pm… And to put it subtly, very mildly…the the 2003 adaptation made by Kowdiar Das of this enigmatic movie is #^#@&^ boring to the core. Within 5 minutes into the movie my better half gave me seething look…”jwalicha kannu kondu oru nooku nokki”- i pretended that I did not see her scorn…my daughters did not mince words….achchanu sharikkum vattu thanne…but i forced myself to see this version. I am thankful that JC Daniel had passed away when this movie was released, but he must have rolled at least a thousand times in his grave.
      The 2003 adaptation produced by Sabari films starts with a scene depicting a kalaripayatauu and soon Bhoothanathan kidnapping Chandrakumar of Bungalavu veedu. years later we see Chandrakumar’s sister, Sarojini, being in love with Jayachandran her neighbor and mura cherukkan. Jayachandran (who supposedly was portrayed by JC Daniel in the original version) is portrayed as a meek coward. he goes to somewhere in tamil nadu for a job and is assaulted by Bhoothanathan over there. he gets a job in the estate. he also meets a character played by Kumarakam Raghunath (the only actor whom i know). Anyway Jayachandran comes to know that Kumarakam Raghunath is the missing brother of Sarojini- how he finds it out is not revealed. they return to kerala- there is fight and chandrakumar gives a good bashing to Bhoothanathan and his goons (while Jayachandran immediately faints) and soon the family is reunited….all this is told with 45 minutes., I am thankful that the film is over and the commercial break comes in. I decide to wait to see the end credits…but wait, the director has a surprise in store- it seems that this Vigathakumaran has another story- a sequel…the return of Bhoothanathan…in this segment, action takes place in another village. there is portrayed the love affair between a low cat cowherd and an upper class girl, the relatives of the girl takes care of the guy…bhoothnaathan attempts another kidnapping, but the intended victim’s friends over power him and everyoone is happy. thankfully a commercial break came in…and i shut the tv- lest there be any more surprises like a third segment….so i didnt see the end credits.
      I thought of writing the review immediately and as soon as I opened my mail- i got a flurry of questions asking me what I thought of this “cult classic”…I replied a single change in letter would give my opinion of this …classic”. Do yourself a favour- just stick on with CELLULOID and the 3 documentaries about Daniel/ Rosie etc. And if you still wanna see this movie- better see it on an empty stomach and keep away dangerous weapons like hammer screwdriver, a sane spouse etc away from the TV. Waiting for the repercussions of my decision to cancel the dinner (the wife and kids are now asleep), watch this space. shall write (if they decide to spare my life)

      1. Dear Narayan,
        Though by some celestial conspiracy ( 🙂 ) I got to miss the re-creation, reading through what happened last evening with you, I think I just got lucky 🙂 The feedback that I received weren’t any different from those who kept aside everything else, just like you did, to watch the movie and switched it off midway – one read “Santhosh Pandit would have done this 10 times better!”.Regardless, the movie needs to be archived, whether we like it or not, as a modern-recreation of Malayalam cinema’s first production, and I guess we will leave it at that .Thanks so much,. Regards, cinematters

        1. first things first, I am still alive….
          I have been too rash in my review…just wanted to vent out my frustration somehow. I don’t know how far Kowdiar Das researched for this movie or how faithful he remained to the true history as with the date available in 2002-03. The various articles of Chelangatu, Mannarkadu Mathew etc- were in public domain at that time also. don’t know whether he had gone through the same.
          And if by chance, this was the way the original Vigathakumaran was made-it wont be just the caste considerations which led to audience boohooing the movie. Teh movie would have been too boring. Remember, Kerala had been introduced to Chaplin movies and Hindi silent movies in the Twenties itself. We also had a good tradition of dramas on stage. So when the audience see something worthless, they react…..
          Still, I dont think Kowdiar Das’s adaptation is anywhere close to what JC Daniel had done.But, I agree, for the effort to recreate Vigathakumaran- for the guts he had shown for the same- yes lets appreciate him.
          And apologies for going overboard in my comments of 4th March

          1. Dear Narayan,
            Compared to the “real-time” reviews that I received online as mail and as text messages, yours is way, way too gracious :)I have also come to know that our Das had also remade another silent movie, the details are awaited.Will keep you

            PS. Managed to get in touch with our Number One Jayan Fan yet?

          2. another silent film made by Das!!!!!!!!! anyway this version of VIGATHAKUMARAN is a talkie.
            still not able to make contact with the numero-uno jayan fan. i tried contacting PT Varghese who wrote a book about Jayan- but to no avail. I am not sure fo the name also whether its Rajan.

          3. It was not merely caste consideration that destroyed the movie, it was even more of a negative mallu mind of those times that cannot digest the reality of a local pulaya girl (LOCAL, PULAYA, GIRL) that brought vengeance on the screen in the form of slippers, spit and stones

            Charlie chaplin belonged to the race of the sahibs who ruled the whole world, the fuedal elements were really slavish to subdue their caste considerations to the white clan, the movie goers appreciated Chaplin simply because it was all white, the sheema stuff ( appreciation for foreign and contempt for local)

            Hindi version was also appreciated as those movies never had a lady in cast, it was also considered foreign, the stories were all pauranic, based on scriptures

            Hence a social drama on screen, a pulaya, a girl on screen with all that narration by the story teller was enough and more for all those spit, stones and slippers hurled at the screen

            The drama enacted in those days as far i have learnt from books and from my late grand parents who were in their teen in late 1920s were all based on either scriptures or on royal elements who ruled the land

            The second movie, Marthanda Varma also had a lady, Kamalkshi Amma, a Nair girl as heroine, she was also hunted down, never again acted in movies, as she was a GIRL, she belonged to my ancestral locality, Mavelikara where she is known to have led a life of poverty, of course acted in dramas and ballets till 1960s but at the fag end of her life in early 1990s had to go to a temple in Mavelikara Mitchel Junction to recite Ramayana every day over microphone to earn her daily bread

            Hence it was the GIRL factor also the LOCAL GIRL factor that instigated the viewers, then the PULAYA factor

            Not the story as it was a new one distinct from the conventional and thrilling for the Colombo shoot etc, i have heard from very old people in Pattom where i had my PG and stayed near the so-called Sharada Vilasom, that the efforts were applauded by the commoners (the movie goers were the middle class and the high castes full of old concepts of life)

          4. @ Sen Joseph Manthanam,
            Your comments make interesting reading. And yesterday i had a chat with my cousin a journalist about how prosperous JC Daniel looks in a family photo taken while he was in the late Fifties or early Sixties (the family photo is in the book by Chelangattu and Harris Daniel looks in his Twenties). JC Daniel is in full suit and looking dignified. In an earlier comment i had pointed out that something might have happened post- PU Chinnappa fiasco which had reduced Daniel to penury and that it might have happened at a time after the photograph was taken. When I mentioned it to my cousin- he said that it was usual for Malayalees to dress up, wear make up, and show a semblance of prosperity or richness which they did not have in studio photographs. Daniel was an abhimani- and might be that he didnt want anyone (at that time) to know that they were in poverty.
            Sen Joseph’s words and my cousin’s take on JC Daniel makes room for poignant reading. and Sen sir- after reading your comemnts, researched comments i had an intuition that you might have put to productive use your research frame of mind and i did a google search to see i you had written any books- and I was correct- you have written THE MYSTERY OF NETAJI’S “DEATH’….and judging by the title, it must have opened a whole new can of worms, probing into the conspiracy behind Netaji’s disappearance. WHy not you now write about life JC Daniel post PU Chinnappa fiasco…:) :):

      2. This is the modern day re-creation which stands in contrast to the creation of Daniel, a contrast inexplicable, any way this is what is called groping in the dark, a real post modern experiment in total disregard of history

        Such nonsense is happening because we are still unable to recover the print or even a part of the print of original Vigatha Kumaran

        Let us hope Ms.Susie emerge victorious, then a re-creation can be avoided, a re-creation by half baked so-called media experts who are after money squeezed out of ratings

        Let us continue in our historical pursuit of truth, no way we shall lay down our arms

    2. Manarcadu Mathew’s contention that all of Vigatha Kumaran was not lost or destroyed by Harris is true, and that is something contributory from the side of the man.
      It is also common sense to think like that, as a major fire at any point of time can destroy the entire house as the reels were nitrate ones and highly inflammable.

      Some parts were retreived and secretly preserved which were taken away by the lost child, Mr.Sundharam Daniel to Ceylon and then to Australia, it is being corroborated by Mathew’s write-ups.This is a good lead and what we were inferring has been substantaited by an old man who was also in touch with the Daniels.This is a matter of relief and credit goes to him for that, at least his deduction can be derived out of his research and belated revelation

  7. [img src=””]

  8. The legacy of J.C.Daniel has to be preserved online as he was the one inspite of the affluence of his Parents, set out in pursuit of a technology innovated in social interests.He selected a pulaya girl for his heroine role when the caste system was so rigid over here (Now also if a pulaya is brought up in a movies known for glamour and a whole lot of illusions relating to it, then i do not think the hypocratic Kerala society will accept it, as i found a few boys howling when in the movie the actress featured in the song eenundodi thamara chandam)
    He sent out on a revolution, a social reformer in the arena of movie making
    He set out on an industrial innovation, a technology in lay man’s life, as the movie was shot in the streets of Pattom, totally outdoor, the so-called grand masters of malayalam movie world was brave enough to come out of studios only in the late 1950s,
    He was the first INDIAN movie maker to go to a foreign country to shoot , yes one half of his movie was picturised in British Ceylon

    How can we miss this man, but we missed him for long till early 1990s just because our bureaucary was and is still to an extent caste rigid and the leaders were and is still to an extent old in their mental make-up, something that defiant educated modern Daniel defied in late 1920s

    Indeed Daniel is most modern, fit to live in the second half of 21st century, indeed more modern than all our heroes of today

    Let us preserve him, his works and all those golden past online, in print and in writing

    1. thanks for the comments…it makes nice reading…feel good reading…but let me put something straight. I am NOT going to Australia and neither is this A LONE CRUSADE. and NO I have not spent even a single pie of my “hard earned money” for this object. .Cinematters, Ms. Susie (who herself is in Australia, and will soon meet in person the family of Sundaram Daniel) and myself are trying to recover (touch wood) the vestiges of Vigathakumaran…if any. The pursuits made by Chelangattu, the documentaries aforementioned including that by Gopalakrishnan Sir has motivated us in the importance of relentless pursuit. Cinematters has already written a snail mail to the widow of Sundaram Daniel and we are praying that a positive reply comes across the seas. If a positive reply comes- I shall personally go and meet Minister Ganesh Kumar and convince him to see that the print is restored and preserved as a cultural legacy of ours.
      I have sent by separate mail to CM the news item that had appeared in 1930 Deepika…..guess the research still ought to be continued on which is the true and correct year of release of Vigathakumaran…or whether here was a second release in 1930.

      1. Okay good to know that, i pray for the positive result of Ms.Susie’s meeting with Olive Sundharan Daniel and her daughter in Australia.
        Indeed there are still people like that who find time for such cultural work, it is the success of that renaissance movement that rocked us nay our predecessors in the distant past, in the 1930s or so that youth of today, some of them, a few of them are into this historic mission

        God will be rendering success for the good and pure, if truth is sought for

  9. It is nice to learn that Narayan Radhakrrishnan in the true spirit of alone crusader is after the hopeful collection of Vigatha Kumaran’s print, it is highly applaudable that he is making efforts to go to Melbourne and Kandy in Australia for the same.

    I hope it will be fruitful and the trip itself is historical.I am really bowing down in front of that intellectual honesty and the pains taken

    Please support the efforts as it involves money, hard earned money
    Hats off to Mr.Narayan, we all shall be praying for your success
    Try to represent the whole of this generation and the past ones while making the search

    History is always right, if properly preseved
    It is truth that matters, and God will bless those who are after that

    Meanwhile Celluloid is becoming a big big hit

  10. Dear CM,
    I watched the movie Celluloid a few days back, and came out with a heavy heart for the fate of Father of Malayalam Cinema. After then I was searching web for knowing more about JC Daniel, Vigathakumaran and his family. Got lot many facts from various sites and watched the documentary on both JC Daniel and PK Rosie, also ordered the books – JC Danielinte Jeevitha Kadha by Chelangatt and Nashtanayoika by Vinu Abraham, online from DC books. Then while continuing the search on web luckily I found this page.
    Hats off to you for this great venture. And especially for the works done and continuing for getting the line straight for facts behind the unsung hero of Malatalam film industry.
    And also appreciate the great work done by Adv Narayan Radhakrishnan in this regard. Really amazing that you are going to Australia in search of more facts and remains of Vigathakumaran. Praying and hoping that may you find the reels and snaps of Vigathakumaran and of course of JC and Family. Also try to get a copy a of the book written by JC Daniel.
    All the very best.
    Jayesh Sebastian

  11. Now the first malayalam movie Vigathakumaran there is no print available.The second malayalam movie “Marathanda varma some part of the prints are recovered in 1973 and it is now kept in pune film studio.What about balan? vellinakshatram,Sasidharan,amma ,Jenova ? I don’t think so for these films also the prints are available.Ok these are very old movies prior 1950 .What about the films released in sixtees and seventees ? A lot of films was either lost or spoiled and cannot be used again. This is also a crime. How much sweat and pain is there behind the making of a movie and after the release there is no solutions for it logistics.

  12. Yes, i support the argument that it is a success for Vigatha Kumaran as well as Celluloid, a tribute to both J.C.Daniel and Chelangattu

    I bow my head in fond memory of the two men, pay my respects to all the surviving members of their family, a heart-felt love for that great lady, Jannet Daniel and regards to Kamal, of course comtempt for all the so-called educated hypocrats who still bear the poison of casteism deep in them, that which Daniel rejected back in 1928 through his revolution, bebut motion picture, debut studio ans what not

    1. Dear Rajesh,
      How can that be against the context? 🙂 The Link would die off in another week, hence have preserved the page as a .pdf.Will have that uploaded once the page goes redundant.Thanks.cinematters

    2. Celluloid is discussed in this week’s MALAYALAM VARIKHA also. it seems that the screenplay will soon be published as a book by DC. the article featured is Kamal’s foreword to the said book. he says that before rolling the camera…he, Vinu Abraham and Shri. R. Gopalakrishnan visited the final resting place of JC Daniel….

  13. Dear Mr. Narayan,
    As you know i’m on the finishing stage of my wbe site on malayalam cinema – cinipedia. most probably by May 2013, it will be officially launched. On the inaugural day the main backdrop of the function will the DEEPIKA PAPER of 1930. That’s what I am planning now. so wait for some more days. after the fuction we can share the photos and matter to OMC.
    for the last 8 years i’m working (day & night) for the above project. in between I’ll find out time to share my experiences to OMC, only becos of you, yuor passion to malayalam cimena. best wishes Narayan

    1. wow..this is one great information. Ever since I met you (around years back), you had only one thing in mind- the definitive encyclopedia of Malayalam cinema.. When i met you at first you were on work on a 12 volume encyclopedia (at least material for 12 volumes) a couple of years later it had developed into 15 volumes and when we met a couple of months back- you said that the material you have is too much to be encompassed in a book series. I was astonished and flabbergasted by the depth of your collection- old magazines, photos, film agreements, manuscripts of vayalar and devarajan and what not. I am sure that cinepeda will be THE DEFINITIVE SOURCE OF INFORMATION on Malayalam cinema. I understand the importance of keeping the information of Deepika under wraps till then. And Sir, we would be honored if you would be with us for an interview for OMC regarding your experience in collecting and chronchling Malayalam cinema.

    2. Dear Sir,
      Thank you so much for coming around and sharing your thoughts on Malayalam cinema’s historical aspects under debate. Really, really look forward to cinepedia’s launch, and as Narayan surmised, hope it would become the the DEFINITIVE source of information on Malayalam cinema. Will wait for this. Thanks again.

  14. great work!
    i think we need a lot of such archival/archiving work to get a better picture of early malayalam cinema to rescue it from its aithiyhamalas..
    this is something we havent done anything about at all..

  15. CM, kudos to you and to Narayan Radhakrishnan for attempting to set the record straight. I hope you are able to settle this matter satisfactorily. The fact is that we are bad at keeping written records, much less conserving our artistic heritage. I should hope that future generations will have the efforts of bloggers like you and supporters like Mr Radhakrishnan as archivists and conservationists of the lifework of journalists like Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan.

    1. Dear Anu,
      Sharing what they have done and archiving their work with due credit for tomorrow’s digital generation is a necessity. We do what we can 🙂 Thanks, cinematters

  16. CM,I hope your efforts will ultimately bear fruit and you will be able to prove beyond doubt the exact date which should go down in history.
    Have you thought of visiting some old ‘Vayanashalas’ or Kerala Sahithya academy where they would archived old news papers and publications? Surely Mathrubhumi and Manorama offices would be having their own archives departments.

    1. the archives of Mathribhumi is in Kozhikkode and that of Manoram in Kottayam (this info is subject to correction). Sometime back I went to the Kerala Kaumudi office at pettah, TVM. the old newspapers are just thrown away in bundles in a godown. have to check out Deepika.

      1. Biju and Naryan,Let me try in whatever capacity I have to get some information from Mathrubhumi archives or some other archives.I have sent a request to a couple of my friends

    1. Dear Rajesh,
      Scrounging on the web can at times get lucky 🙂 On a more serious note, I hope this starts conversations, more exploartions and unearth gems that had been relegated to some forgotten archives. Thanks again, cinematters

  17. Wow!!! CM!!!! That was indeed a mammoth effort by you!! Really appreciate the sincerity with which you update History!!! Keep going buddy!!! 🙂

    1. Dear Viju,
      At the risk of repeating, most of it are already there in the web. I just got a little lucky compiling it together, with a whole lot of help from Adv Narayan. Thanks, cinematters

      1. Actually I was least concerned about the date of release of the movie- be it 1930 or 1928…why should it bother me? That was when I read the book JC DANILEINTE JEEVITHA KATHA and saw the documentary THE LOST CHILD by Kiran Ravindran- whom I know personally. Earlier I had seen the documentary THE LOST LIFE by R. Gopalakrishna Sir- whom I know personally and respect for his meticulous task in collecting and preserving cinema history.. The version of Kiran highlights that the movie was made in 1928 while Gopalkrishnan Sir’s documentary highlights it as 1930. (both are damn good documentaries, with good research based on the available resources). In Kiran’s documentary Director Vijayakrishnan makes a remark that Chelangattu’s research put the year as 1928 and that the book JC DANIELINTE JEEVITHAKATHA was published after his death and that the date was changed.
        The hullaballoo surrounding CELLULOID also prompted the curious inquisitor in me to research further- and I contacted the son of Chelangattu (the details of which I have narrated in another post/topic about JC Daniel here at OMC itself).
        Regarding the handbill- I think Kunnukuzhy Mani mentioned that (I don’t know whether he mentions the same in Kiran’s documentary or when I saw him at the NSS hall, Sasthamangalam where the documentary was shown) I think he mentioned that he obtained this pamphlet from JC Daniel’s daughter).
        CM, Susie at Australia and myself are now on attempt to see if any vestiges of Vigatahkumaran remains. Harris Daniel had as a young kid (around 7 or 8 years old) destroyed the prints of the movie available at his house….he set fire to the film reels to see the green-blue colour of burning flame. Harris was born after the release of Vigathakumaran. Sundaram Daniel who acted in Vigathakumaran at age 6 or 7 might have been 14 or 15 when Harris did this mischief? Would he have salvaged some part of the reel/ print…saved it from the clutches of his mischievous younger brother? Would he have taken a part of the same to Australia wherein he settled (and died in 2002). Would his wife or kids or grandkids have with them anything with them? I am keeping my fingers crossed. Our CM has already written a snail mail to the widow of Sundram Daniel.
        But all said and done- can I conclusively say that the movie was released in 1928 and 1930…NO. I haven’t seen the Deepika news item nor the original of the pamphlet. If we see it- then our research would take a whole new direction. I don’t believe in the handbill; neither do I disbelieve it….i only say that more evidence is necessary before we come to a final conclusion regarding actual date of release of the movie. Let the researcher in each OMC Member do their bit in putting history in the right track.
        And hope a note can be given at the beginning of CELLULOID confessing the confusion regarding 1928 and 1930.

        1. there is another documentary about Vigathakumaran- thsi time focusing on Rosie. I had seen it around 2 years slipped my mind (an unpardonable mistake). Here is the you tube link to the same. the documentary was by Kanjiramkulam sanla and Shivaraman amaravila.

        2. Dear Mr, Narayan,
          Happy to see this article….
          but pls don’t mix my work with Kiran Raveendran..bcos he copied almost all shots from my documentary and made a new one. That is not creation… In his documentary he, kunnukuzhi mani and vijayakrishnan are saying that the film was released in 1928. they are using the visual of the front page of the invitation, and not using the inner page which you displayed here. in the second page there is the date…so in future if u mention kiran’s name anywhere pls try to avoid my name.
          if anybody can bring out any original news paper of 1928 i’ll believe….
          otherwise,for me i’ll stick on to 1930, since i am having the DEEPIKA and MATHRUBHOOMI news papers with me.

          1. Sir
            great that you have joined this discussion- I only pointed out that there are 3 documentaries about Vigathakumaran.-one by you, one by Kiran and another by Kanjiramkulam Sanal- all 3 of which i have seen.
            Sir could you upload, the mathrubhumi and deepika news item over here- and also all the pages of the invitation so that the confusion of 1928 and 1930 is laid to a rest. As you said, “if anybody can bring out the original newspaper of 1928, I’ll believe” and as I said earlier (in the post dated 30th january).”….But all said and done- can I conclusively say that the movie was released in 1928 and 1930…NO. I haven’t seen the Deepika news item nor the original of the pamphlet. If we see it- then our research would take a whole new direction. I don’t believe in the handbill; neither do I disbelieve it….i only say that more evidence is necessary before we come to a final conclusion regarding actual date of release of the movie. Let the researcher in each OMC Member do their bit in putting history in the right track”. Hope you would appreciate the intention behind this article (the article per se is by Cinematters), and help us put history in the right perspective.

          2. And Gopalakrishnan Sir..I am very, very happy that you are watching reading the posts over here and participating in the discussion. In fact your work, and the biography about JC Daniel by Chelangattu has inspired me, cinematters and a lot of others to try and search for a print of Vigathakumaran (if any available) at Australia. I guess, I would be speaking for all members over here in OMC regarding our sincere appreciation for the work you are doing to preserve and promote Malayalam cinema. In another post i have commented about your book on BALAN and your efforts to make Sarada Vilas the office of Chalachitra Academy and what happened to it. Your presence in OMC is an honour for us and for Malayalam cinema.
            And Sir, this debate of 1928 and 1930 is not meant to hurt anyone.. especially you. its just that the comment made by Shri. Kunnukuzhi Mani now doubting the veracity of the date has opened a new can of worms…..
            Please also read related articles about JC Daniel over here in OMC.

        3. 1928 or 1930…no matter what the life of JC Daniel has now been given the due recognotion it receives. CELLULOID is a success…both commercially and artistically. Prithviraj gets the best actor award. Kudos to all those who worked for Celluloid and its success

          1. Dear Narayan,
            Truly, an entire generation has been now made familiar and the name a byword with the movie Celluloid. Maybe, in a way, the awards are more profound than what they seem to be. But historical accuracies should also be diligently pursued, if not on screen, out in the real world atleast :).Sadly, the movie seems to have been taken off from my city’s theatres even though all the shows were sold out. Guess will have to watch the DVD version, going by the look of it.Thanks, cinematters

        4. finally saw CELLULOID. i really, really liked the movie. its a fictional account of JC Daniel’s life and so some literary licence is allowed. There may be some historical inaccuracies- like the portrayal of Chelangattu’s role in retrieving the print of MARTHANDAVARMA, or even the confusion with regard to 1928 and 1930- (of which more data research is needed before reaching a final conclusion); advancing the year of the documentary of Shri. R. Gopalakrishnan from 2006 to 2000 etc. but all said- irrespective of all the hullabaloo and so called controversies- CELLULOID is a fine picture. JC Daniel, and journalists like Chelangattu gets the due recognition they truly deserve.
          I also bought the screenplay of the movie today (published by DC). Before seeing the movie itself I knew that Prithviraj was portraying both JC Daniel and his son Harris Daniel. After reading Chelangattu’s book i had a poor opinion about JC Daniel’s children. They had abandoned him in old age and JC Daniel died in poverty. But after seeing Celluloid, I began to see the other side. Daniel was never a good father. After getting his fingers burn with VIGATHAKUMARAN it took many years for the Daniel family to rebuild their life. but one fine day believing the words of Tamil actor P.U. Chinnappa Daniel went to madras with all his life savings and nothing was heard form him for the next 2-3 years. he did not inquire about his family or children. He came back to Agastheeswaram as a complete stranger, aloof, and depressed. this is the JC Daniel which Harris and his brothers saw. i dont think there was warmth b/w Daniel and his children. Would this have hampered their relation- ultimately leading to the children abandoning Daniel in his old age??? This is one subtle reason showcased in CELLULOID.
          (Again, I am not completely agreeing to this line of though put forward by Kamal. In the photos accompanying the book by Chelangattu- there is shown a family photo of the Daniels with Harris Daniel in his early Twenties. Daniel- might have been in his fifties and is shown in a full suit. he looks prosperous…something must have happened after this which put his life into poverty- a mystery which still remains unanswered).
          Today’s Manorama carries a letter from Manarkadu Mathew. Mathew says about his role in tracking down Daniel and also his role in retrieving the print of Marthandavarma. Mathew also mentions that the photo of the aged Daniel which is the cover page of Chelngattu’s book was in fact taken by Manarkadu Mathew and his team (including litterateur Kulathoro Bhasakaran Nair) for Malayala manorama way back in the early Seventies….and that it is after this that Chelnagttu began his research.
          A whole can of worms has now been opened. Its in a way good- and i hope somewhere, someone will get the insipiration to track down and come up with a print or at least more photos of VIGATHAKUMARAN. Adn dear Cinematter- hope Project Australia comes with success, touch wood

          1. Today’s Deepika daily has come out with it’s 1930 news item about the release of Vigathakumaran

          2. Ms. Jaysree
            could you please scan the said news item that appeared in Deepika over here

          3. Dear Narayan,
            I guess you are one of those lucky ones who got to watch it in the cinema. My city had just four days of Celluloid, all sold out and for some inexplicable, higher reason removed to accommodate a Hindi release. Will have to wait for the DVD release now.Glad to know that you “really, really liked the movie” :)All the more reason to wait for the disc release.The aspect of actor PU Chinnappa’s part in Vigathakumaran’s life is also deeply circumspect, according to B Vijayakumar who have elaborated on it here. With Manarcaud Mathew’s report in Manorama ( on why he kept quiet for the past 4 decades is strange, and even more strange is the fact that the Screen article by Chelangatt was published a good one month earlier than the Manorama article in 1973 ! )Its truly getting bizarre by the day 🙂 We will still keep looking, exploring and collating. Actively pursuing the Australia angle. Hope something comes through. Thanks , cm

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