Lyricist, screenplay writer, producer, director composer, and above all, poet. All these epithets have been used on different occasions to describe the Malayalam veteran Sreekumaran Thampi, affectionately referred to as ST. When he is conferred the ‘Asan Smaraka Kavitha Puraskaram 2012’ for his contributions to Malayalam poetry and literature by the Asan Memorial Association, he would have added yet another feather to his already crowded cap. The award will be presented at a function organised on November 24 at 4.30 p.m., at Ammu Swaminathan auditorium, Asan Memorial Senior Secondary School, Anderson Road, Chennai.
Interestingly, the Haripad-born ST has a B.Sc degree in Mathematics, an Engineering Diploma from IIET, Chennai, and Engineering degree from the Government Engineering College, Thrissur. But poetry came naturally to him. During his school and college years, he won many prizes at various poetry competitions. Although he was trained formally in music, he never had any particular guru when it came to his film-making and writing.
ST has directed many award winning films, both art-house and commercial. A self-confessed workaholic, ST’s advice to youngsters is to be sincere, ambitious and hard working and never let failure dampen your spirit.
There are many collections of poetry which ST has published over the years including ‘Kaviyum Malakhamarum’ (The poet and the angels), ‘Engineerude Veena,’ ‘Neela Thamara,’ ‘En Makan Karayumbol’ (When my son cries), ‘Sheershakamillatha Kavithakal’ (won him ‘Muloor Poetry Award in 2005), ‘Achante Chumbanam’ (Revathy Pattathanam Krishna Geethi Award in 2003), and ‘Ammakyoru Tharattu’ that had won him Odakkuzhal award in 2010.
ST had to his credit some powerful novels such as ‘Kakkathampuratti’ which was filmed by veteran film director P. Bhaskaran; ‘Kuttanad,’ a story about farmers working in Kerala, ‘Njan Oru Katha Parayam’ about the trials and tribulations of a singer-actor and ‘Kadalum Karalum’ about labourers working on board a ship. ST has also written a book on the history and techniques of film making titled ‘Kanakkum Kavithayum’ that fetched him the National Award for the Best Book on Cinema.
Besides, ST had written several plays, short stories, poems for children, and lyrics for 263 films. Add to all this, several HMV albums and audio CDs, and you have some of ST’s accomplishments listed out.
If ST’s literary pursuits are well-known, he is equally famed for his films, many of which have his story, screenplay and dialogue. Among the 78 films he has worked on include jubilee hits such as ‘Vilaikku Vangiya Veena,’ ‘Kakka Thampuratti, and Abhimanam.’
As for the accolades, the special ones worth mentioning include the Kerala Government Veteran Cine Artistes Award (1996), Prem Nazir Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement in Malayalam Cinema 2002 and the Lifetime Achievement Award instituted by Dubai Priyadarshini in 2006.
He has held various post such as Member of National Feature Film Jury (thrice), chairman, Kerala Feature Film Jury and Member of Indian Panorama Selection Panel (four times).
The Malayalam film Industry will vouch that ST, veteran playback singer Vani Jairam, composer M.K. Arjunan were a winning combination who held the reins of the industry for 11 years continuously.
Recalling her association with ST, Vani Jairam has this to say: “My first solo song, ‘Thiruvonam Pulari’ (from the film ‘Thiruvonam’) which I sang had lyrics by ST and would be played in every nook and corner of Kerala on Onam Day. My first duet for ST’s lyrics was P.Jeyachandran; the song was ‘Vaalkann Ezhudhi Vanna Pushpam Choody’ from the film ‘Picnic’.”
Keywords: Sreekumaran Thampi