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Monday, January 29, 2001

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Thikkodian--a multi-faceted personality

By Our Staff Reporter


Thikkodiyan, who died at Kozhikode this morning, was a multi- faceted personality.

As a playwright, his range was amazing. On the one hand, he portrayed social realities and poignant human situations ("Pazhaya Bandham", "Attupoya Kanni"), while on the other he set off on flights of fancy, offering a larger-than-life vision ("Pushpavrishti", "Mahabharatham").

Despite their foibles, his characters were lovable. Even the works that told the most tragic tales, radiated hope.

Apart from 30-odd plays, he had also written novels, including "Chuvanna Kadal", "Aswahridayam" and "Pazhassiyude Padavaal". Drawn against the background of the sea and the Portuguese invasion, "Chuvanna Kadal" was among the major historical novels in Malayalam.

P. Kunhananandan Nair, who hailed from Thikkodi, a sleepy village near Kozhikode, was named Thikkodiyan by humorist Sanjayan. He took to writing plays in the early Fifties, while serving as a scriptwriter at the Kozhikode station of the All India Radio. Urged by his friends such as Uroob, S. K. Pottekatt. N. V. Krishna Warrier, M. V. Devan, V. Abdulla and K. A. Kodungalloor, Thikkodiyan wrote a play, "Jeevitham", and this had topped a drama competition conducted by the Kendra Kala Samithy.

He inherited his love for theatre from his grandfather, who brought him up after the untimely death of his parents. Completing his secondary education, Thikkodiyan joined the Kozhippuram school as a teacher. He imbibed the spirit of the age of nationalism and social awareness. Private schoolteachers were a neglected lot in British Malabar. Thikkodiyan protested against the inequity and got the sack for his "defiant act".

He then plunged into full-time social work and became an active worker of the Bharat Seva Sangham.

"If at all I have learnt anything from life, I owe it to the Sanghom and its illustrious former president, V. R. Nayanar," he once said. Till his last days, he had striven to promote the Nayanar Balika Sadanam, an orphanage in Kozhikode.

Thikkodiyan had written countless radio skits, features and lyrics, some of which had been set to tune by composers such as K. Raghavan. He had joined the AIR after a brief stint as editor of the Malayalam daily, "Dinaprabha".

He made a foray into cinema, writing the story, screenplay and dialogue for G. Aravidan's maiden work, "Uttarayanam".

His autobiography, "Arangu Kaanatha Nadan", one of the best in Malayalam, had sketched Malabar's social and cultural development, profiled some of its noted residents, and, above all, captured the charm of Kozhikode. The description of the death of his wife, in one of the chapters, was among the most poignant prose ever written in Malayalam.

His autobiography was a reflection of the quiet, unassuming life he led. This prominent player on Kerala's cultural scene, titled it, "The actor who had never been on stage".

CM condoles death

The Chief Minister, Mr. E. K. Nayanar, has condoled the death of Thikkodiyan.

In a message, he remembered the writer's contribution to the progressive literary movement. "I knew him since my early days in Kozhikode, as the district secretary of the CPI(M)."

Among the others who offered condolences were the Speaker, Mr. M. Vijayakumar, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. A. K. Antony, the CPI State secretary. Mr. Veliyam Bhargavan, the KPCC president, Mr. Thennala Balakrishna Pillai, and the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy chairman, Mr. Shaji N. Karun.

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