The Jaycey Foundation will honour actor Kamal Hassan, who is celebrating his Golden Jubilee in Malayalam films. Kannum Karalum was released in 1962

Kamal Hassan, one of the most methodical and versatile actors in world cinema, celebrates his Golden Jubilee in Malayalam films. Kamal made his Malayalam debut as a child actor in Kannum Karalum (1962). Jaycey Foundation will organise a function in Chennai to commemorate this landmark occasion.

Kannum Karalum was produced by K. M. Balasubramaniam under the banner of Saravanabhava Pictures. Directed by K. S. Sethumadhavan, the film was based on the story of K. T. Mohammed, who also wrote the script and dialogues.

“No print of this film, which turned out to be a huge box office success, is available today. Perhaps the film is remembered as Kamal Hassan’s Malayalam debut and of course for the songs,” feels B. Vijayakumar, film historian.

The lyrics were by Vayalar Rama Varma and music by M. B. Sreenivasan. It had songs by K.J. Yesudas, S. Janaki, P. Leela, Mehaboob, and Baby Latha.

Kamal Hassan played the central character portraying the travails of a motherless boy. “There were many Hollywood movies that came before which had children as its central character. The Hindi films like Pyar Ki Pyaas (1961) and Bhabhi Ki Choodiyan (1961) also followed a similar pattern. The success of these films must have prompted the producers to go for such a theme,” says Vijayakumar.

Interestingly Kamal Hassan’s debut film Kalathoor Kannamma (1960) also followed this story thread of a boy separated from his mother. “Kamal and Savithiri excelled in their roles. The film was a huge hit. This film and Kamal’s acting must have inspired the producers of Kannum Kalalum to cast him in the role of Babu. In fact, one stand out sequence in Kalathoor Kannamma is the song pictured on Kamal. The song, ‘Ammavum neeye’… by M. S. Rajeswari and Kamal’s acting made it an unforgettable experience,” informs Vijayakumar.

Kannum Karalum will also be remembered for its songs. ‘Kalimannu menanju menanju’… (P. Leela), ‘Valarnu valarnu neeyoru’…(S. Janaki), and ‘Aare kaanaan alayunnu’ (Yesudas-Renuka) are still popular.

Apart from Kamal Hassan, the film included some of the popular artistes of the time Sathyan, Ambika, Sukumari, S. P. Pillai, Muthukulam, Adoor Pankajam, Bharathi and Baby Vinodhini.”

At the function slated to be held on December 12 at the Don Bosco Auditorium, Egmore (Chennai), 6 p.m., Jaycey Foundation will bring together some of the artistes, others who were involved in the film, and family members of those who were associated with this film but have since departed. “We will be honouring legends like K. S. Sethumadhavan, Kamal Hassan, S. Janaki, K. J. Yesudas, Sukumari, Ambika, Latha Raju (Baby Latha), Vinodhini Sasimohan (Baby Vinodhini), and P. K. Kaimal (distributor of the film). Sathish Sathyan, Vayalar Sarathchandra Varma, Zeenath, Manju Pillai, kin of Sathyan, Vayalar Rama Varma, K. T. Mohammed and S. P. Pillai will also be felicitated,” informs J. J. Kuttikad, chairman, Jaycey Foundation.