Friday marks the birth anniversary of actor Monisha Unni. A doting mother celebrates her daughter’s life with a cultural tribute
Monisha Unni is one young woman no Bangalorean can forget. Having won the national award for best actress for her debut Malayalam film Nakhakshathangal when she was 15, and rising quickly to fame, she unfortunately died at 21 in a car accident.
Her mother, Sreedevi Unni, herself an actor and Mohiniattam dancer, has incessantly strived to keep the memory of her talented daughter alive by hosting an annual cultural event in her memory on her birth anniversary each year on January 24.
“My daughter was a well-recognised artist. We are a family of artists. So I feel this is the best way to remember her. It gives me great satisfaction to give s many young people to express themselves artistically on stage,” says Sreedevi of why she chooses to pay tribute to her daughter this way each year. “Monisha and me were very close. We danced together. She is alive in me. This society has kept me alive all these 21 years, and I’m known everywhere as ‘Monisha’s mother’,” says the mother who has braved on.
This year, the programme Monisha Smruthi will bring together Monisha’s mentors, friends, and family in their endeavour to cherish and revive memories of the young dancer-actor.
Monisha, who lived with her parents in Bangalore, had studied in Bangalore, at St. Charles High School, later Bishop Cotton Girl’s School, and Mount Carmel College.
Monisha’s colleagues from the film industry, Bharath Suresh Gopi, Rahman, Manoj K. Jayan and Vineeth will come together to pay tribute to Monisha. Her mentors and gurus, author-filmmaker M.T. Vasudevan Nair and noted theatre person Soorya Krishnamurthy will also share their memories, says Sreedevi Unni.
A short film comprising some of Monisha’s film clippings will also be screened on the occasion.
“All her collagues at that time were a well-knit community. Whenever I have invited them, they are all so willing to come over and perform here in her memory,” says Sreedevi.
Monisha’s co-star and actor Vineeth will present “Sumuhoorthamaay”, a dance tribute that re-visualises Monisha’s and Mohanlal’s dance from the famous film Kamaladalam.
Monisha’s mother will present her performance “Lullaby”. “It’s been 21 years since my daughter’s death, and a new generation has come into being. I wanted youngsters of today to also be apart of the event. So we have a contemporary concert by the band Thaikudam Bridge,” adds Sreedevi.
The programme will be held at the Jyoti auditorium, Jyoti Nivas College, Koramangala, on January 24 at 5.45 p.m.