In his career spanning over three decades, film actor Mammootty has portrayed almost every character, except perhaps, that of a tribal head.
That thought might have crossed his mind during his more than three-hour-long stay with the inmates of the tribal colony at Kundalakkudy, a 30-km drive from Munnar, last weekend.
If he had not thought about it, the sincere query by Gopalan, the tribal head of Andavan tribal hamlet who was among the assembled to receive him, definitely reminded the actor of that void in his acting career.
“Why can’t you act as a tribal head? That would have been a great credit for our people,” was his suggestion, which was received with hearty laughter by the actor.
Mammootty’s visit was to launch a project, Poorvikam, for the well-being of the tribals. The project is being implemented by Care and Share International Foundation founded by the actor.
The project encompasses a slew of welfare measures for the tribals including technical education for young males, training in sewing for females, special technical training for the differently-abled, facilitating education of children interested in pursuing studies, comprehensive health coverage, and freeing children from drug addiction.
The actor’s visit was received by the tribal community with much fanfare usually associated with one of their traditional festivals. Once the festivities subsided, the tribals opened their bag of woes before the actor.
Santhosh, a tribal youth from Kundalakkudy, had come to seek the help of the star for removing a lump on his forehead.
“The healers in the hamlet have asked to go to a city hospital. But I have no money. Can you help me,” he asked. Mammootty’s assurance that it will be taken care of within a week brought tears to the tribal youth’s eyes.
Enasi and Santhippose’s demand for a sewing machine also received a positive response from the actor. Cheeniyamma, an aged tribal woman, had a demand much beyond the actor’s capacity. She wanted power connection, to which Mammootty responded that only the government could provide power and water. His assurance to bring the demand to the notice of the government was received with a wide round of applause.
The actor said that the foundation will do everything it could to help resolve the problems faced by tribals and to provide them better living facilities.
Before wrapping up the visit, Mammootty had a sumptuous Onasadya with the tribals besides serving them food.
Care and Share International Foundation managing director Kurian Marettypuzha presided over the gathering.
The actor was accompanied by tribal King Kozhimala Mannan Rajamannan and Care and Share directors Robert Pallykkathodu and George Sebastian.