MG Soman had always been that, right from his very first movie Gayatri (1973), written by Malayattoor Ramakrishnan for PN Menon. His irreverence remained only for the characters that he brought alive onscreen, in real life he displayed those exceptional qualities that one would come to expect of an officer of the Indian Airforce – self-confident, assertive yet with a surprising sense of empathy and a taste for simple living. Born 28th October, 1941, the only son of Mannadiparambil Govinda Panicker and Bhavani Amma from Thiruvalla, Soman always had a liking for theatre even from his college days. I remember reading about him writing and staging a play called Mantharikal Garjjikkunnu even before he left to join the Indian Airforce right after his pre-University studies. He was hugely popular in the services for his brilliant one act plays and short skits, in close to a decade he served in the Services, a story that has delightful parallels with the service days of another of our popular onscreen thespians, GK Pillai. Having left Air Force in 1970, back home, he actively plunged into the vibrant theatre culture of the times, associating with amateur and professional productions,chief amongst the former being the Kollam Amateur group, giving his best to every single role that came his way.