The 86-year-old, known for the stories and dialogues of yesteryear blockbusters from the stables of the erstwhile Udaya Studios passed away after a prolonged bed-ridden illness at a private hospital at Cherthala here on Wednesday
The master storyteller of Malayalam filmdom’s trysts with the ‘Vadakkan Pattu’ genre, P.K. Sarangapani, is no more.
The 86-year-old, known for the stories and dialogues of yesteryear blockbusters from the stables of the erstwhile Udaya Studios like ‘Thacholi Othenan’, ‘Unniyarcha’, ‘Palattu Koman’, ‘Aromalunni’ and ‘Kannappanunni’, passed away after a prolonged bed-ridden illness at a private hospital at Cherthala here at 2.05 p.m. on Wednesday.
A revolutionary at heart and throughout his life, having participated in the historic Punnapra-Vayalar uprising of 1946, Sarangapani died a loner, ignored by the glittery filmdom of Malayalam and its self-styled associations. Survived by his equally famous sister, revolutionary singer P.K. Medhini, offspring, Kala, Jula and Biju, Sarangapani was living a life of utter penury, but unyielding to the challenges of life as he had begun writing again in 2007 after a gap of more than two decades in an effort to revive the ‘Vadakkan Pattu’ genre.
It was Udaya Studio’s Kunchacko who brought the tailor cum revolutionary into the world of cinema through his movie ‘Umma’ and it was through another old-time friend, Navodaya Appachan, that Sarangapani was attempting a comeback. But ill-health prevented him from completing the script for that movie which, he told The Hindu in a December 2007 interview, would have his usual dose of kalaripayattu, love, action and strong social messages and moreover, a woman as the central character.
Last work in 1990
The man, who silently stood away from movies for over 20 years as Malayalam cinema went after new trends, reality movies and modern storytelling methods, had last written for ‘Kadathanadan Ambadi’ in
1990, featuring Prem Nazir and Mohanlal among others.
Before being bed-ridden, Sarangapani was also busy with another literary work, one that would have gained a permanent position in all of Malayalam filmdom’s history depositories. He was attempting to condense the more-than-seven-decade-old saga of Malayalam film-making into words. Tentatively titled ‘Malayala Chalachithra Puranam’, the work, to be written so as to be made into a television serial, now remains an untold story, as remains his comeback movie.
In the 2007 interview, Sarangapani had said he was upset over the way in which Udaya Studios had fallen apart. It was where he had become close friends with actor Satyan, who, before becoming a star and while
a police inspector, had “tortured” Sarangapani when the latter was arrested after the Punnapra-Vayalar uprising for attacking a police station. He also had one desire, which was to make a movie with
Kunchacko’s grandson, Kunchacko Boban, in the lead role. It must have been of some solace that Mr. Boban found time to meet him in the hospital a couple of days ago.