Hotel East Avenue Suites in Kozhikode played host to some of the big names in Malayalam cinema and literature on Friday evening. The occasion was a function to release the screenplay of Thenmavin Kombathu, the 1994 film written and directed by Priyadarshan.
M.T. Vasudevan Nair, who himself has written some of the finest screenplays in Malayalam, released the book by giving a copy to Mohanlal, who was the hero of Thenmavin Kombathu. Director Hariharan, writer Punathil Kunhabdulla, actor Innocent and M.K. Muneer, chairman, Olive Publications (which published the book) also spoke at the function, besides Mohanlal and Priyadarshan.
In his finely-worded speech, M.T. spoke at some length about the importance of screenplay in cinema. About Thenmavin Kombathu, he said the film was an enjoyable experience because it was a nice blend of reality and fantasy. “In the film, Priyadarshan introduced us to a slightly unfamiliar world but familiar emotions,” he added. A screenplay, he said, was the blueprint of a building. “A good director can make slight innovations and improvisations that could improve the product,” said M.T., whose first script in six years, ‘Pazhassi Raja,’ is being filmed now.
The Jnanpith laureate said screenplays getting published and being read widely was a welcome change. “Earlier very few scripts used to get published in India, especially in Malayalam,” said M.T. “Now a lot more screenplays are available to the readers. And there are people who buy and read them, as there are many who want to study cinema.”
Priyadarshan, in his speech, said his dream was to direct a script written by M.T. “It was after reading MT’s script, ‘Olavum Theeravum’ that I wanted to become a director,” said the man who has gone on to become one of the hottest directors in Bollywood today.
His close friend Mohanlalsaid he was glad to share the stage with M.T., Hariharan and Priyadarshan, who were behind some of his finest films. “Unlike his other films, Priyadarshan started shooting Thenmavin Kombathu after writing the complete script,” recalled Mohanlal.
In his speech, Punathil Kunhabdulla listed his choice of four Malayalam films of the century — Elipathayam, Yavanika, Vadakkunokkiyanthram and Kilukkam.
P.K. Ajith Kumar