PROFILE Sreekumaran Thampi wears many hats with élan and has won accolades aplenty, including the one to be conferred on him tomorrow in Chennai. S. SHIVPPRASADH
Lyricist, screenplay writer, producer, director, composer, and above all else, poet. All these descriptions have been used on different occasions while referring to the Malayalam veteran Sreekumaran Thampi, affectionately called ST. When he is conferred the ‘ Asan Smaraka Kavitha Puraskaram 2012 ’ for his contributions to Malayalam poetry and literature by the Asan Memorial Association, Chennai, he would have added yet another feather to his already crowded cap. The award will be presented at a function to be organised tomorrow (November 24), 4.30 p.m., at Ammu Swaminathan auditorium, Asan Memorial Senior Secondary School, Anderson Road, Chennai.
Interestingly, the Haripad-born ST holds a B.Sc degree in Mathematics, an Engineering Diploma from IIET, Chennai, and Engineering degree from the Government Engineering College, Thrissur. 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 honing his film-making and writing skills.
ST has directed many award winning films, both art-house and commercial. There are several collections of poetry which he has published over the years including ‘Kaviyum Malakhamarum,’ ‘Engineerude Veena,’ ‘Neela Thamara,’ ‘En Makan Karayumbol,’ ‘Sheershakamillatha Kavithakal’ (won him ‘Muloor Poetry Award in 2005), ‘Achante Chumbanam’ (Revathy Pattathanam Krishna Geethi Award in 2003), and ‘Ammakyoru Tharattu’ that won him Odakkuzhal Award in 2010.
ST has to his credit some powerful novels such as ‘Kakkathampuratti’ which was made into a film by the veteran P. Bhaskaran; ‘Kuttanad,’ about farmers working in Kerala, ‘Njan Oru Katha Parayam’ about the trials and tribulations of a singer-actor, and ‘Kadalum Karalum’ on 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, he has 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 famous for his films, many of which have his story, screenplay and dialogue. Among the 78 films he has worked on, jubilee hits such as ‘Vilaikku Vangiya Veena,’ ‘Kakka Thampuratti, and Abhimanam,’ stand out.
As for 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 posts such as Member of National Feature Film Jury (thrice), chairman, Kerala Feature Film Jury and Member of Indian Panorama Selection Panel (four times).
A self-confessed workaholic, ST’s advice to youngsters is to be sincere and hard working, and never let failure dampen their spirits. His mantra is “Do your duty with honesty, without worrying about the final outcome.”