Iruttinte Athmavu ( The Soul of Darkness ) has to be probably the first mainstream Malayalam film which highlighted the travails of the unsound mind on the silver screen through its main protagonist, Velayudhan, brought to life by Prem Nazir. At a time when candyfloss romances and insanely skewed and delightful CID capers were ruling the marquee, P Bhaskaran’s attempt in bringing this “social malaise’’ was a daring effort, similar to what he attempted with Ramu Kariat in Neelakkuyil (1954), bringing untouchability to the fore. I say social malaise from a broad perspective, as, even in this age of advanced medicine, our basic mindset of an unsound mind is still a “life, doomed”, to be lived in chains.
MT Vasudevan Nair remembers Prem Nazir.
This is an article that appeared in Malayala Manorama‘s Onam Special, 2008 edition, where MT Vasudevan Nair remembers his dear friend, Prem Nazir. It also brings to for the warm and caring side of this literary colossus ( I just couldn’t find another expression), who recalls a friend who was always around in need and did deeds that helped many of his fellow beings rise above penury, pain and being paupers.
[ Re-posted from January, 2011 ]
23 years on, the concept of Evergreen Hero, the unique art of telling the same story in a hundred ways with the same lead actor (with a new outrageous toupee every time) and a painful vacuum of stardust that hid a heart of empathy and altruism, not to forget humility and a shrewd sense of commercial survival – Abdul Khader-turned Prem Nazir, the demi-God of Malayalam Cinema is a hard act to follow, and a harder one to fulfill.
My Grandpa used to get very offended, when, I used to tell him that King Mahabali (from now on refereed to as Maveli) had to be the only ‘Socialist’ ruler in mythology, for being able to manage a kingdom where the material needs were none, and everyone had enough to keep them happy! Now, I can’t find a better and finer example than the concept, more beautifully lived out in our mythology, than the legend of Maveli. And ancient texts, scriptures, mythology have always been a favorite hunting ground for our film makers, going back all the way to Raja Harishchandra in 1913, our first movie from India !