Filmmakers recall the brilliance of six artistes who played a pivotal role in Malayalam film industry.

The 17th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) paid tributes to six artistes who were closely associated with the Malayalam film industry, in a special programme titled Homage at Kairali Theatre on Wednesday.

Festival director S. Priyadarshan, vice-chairman Gandhimathi Balan and Director T.K. Rajeev Kumar recalled their association with six persons who had played a pivotal role in the industry.

T. Damodaran’s contribution to scriptwriting was rivalled by only a select few, said Mr. Priyadarshan who praised his commitment to all his productions.

“Say, you’re doing something on the Second World War. He would narrate everything that led to the conflict, the details of events during those four years and the repercussions afterward,” he said, adding that he saw this skill during the filming of Kalapani.

“He was so meticulous. He made a list of the inmates in every cell and with the information he collected, it could easily be made into a 100 episode serial.”

Scripting success

Another scriptwriter who left an indelible mark in the industry was T.A. Shahid, said filmmaker Jose Thomas. As in the hit Rajamanikyam. “With comedy, we tend to overlook the skill behind scripting those dialogues. But a few minutes into the film, his brilliance was apparent,” he said.

Actor Menaka Suresh recalled the efforts of actor Jose Prakash, who was described to have dominated the role of villain for a long while in the industry.

“He approached this new profession with the same discipline that he followed during his service in the British Indian Army,” she said, adding that his personality outside the realm of cinema stood in stark contrast to the roles he played. “He was an eternal optimist,” added Ms. Menaka.

Producers’ role

Roles donned by producers were discussed in the session, through recollections of the achievements of Navodaya Appachan and Vindhyan. Director Rajeev Kumar said there has been no producer with the skill of Appachan in finding a new generation of actors.

Filmmaker Shyamaprasad stressed that it was unfortunate that the role of a producer was being equated only with providing money, when it also involved the skill to scout for talent.

Tributes were paid to director C.P. Padmakumar. Mr. Gandhimathi Balan recalled actor Thilakan’s commitment to his roles.

He said Thilakan prepared himself to completely assume the character he was meant to play, rather than just behave like him.

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