THRISSUR: Thrissur lost one of its favourite actresses in the death of Philomina.
Old-timers remember her performance in drama clubs of Wadakkanchery. She was a regular in the plays written by Mani Mohammed. "She was a natural performer,'' recalls Madhavan, a former associate.
Through the good offices of writer Moidu Padiyathu, she found a part in the film, `Kuttikkuppayam,' produced by T. E. Vasudevan of Jayamaruthi Combines in 1964.
She infused realistic vigour into films, bolstered by her schooling in theatre. From `Kuttikkuppayam' to `Godfather,' `Olavum Theeravum' to `Chatta,' and `Thurakkatha Vathil' to `Thaniyavarthanam,' Malayalam films boasted of her presence through a variety of roles.
"She is best remembered for her comic act, especially in Sathyan Anthicaud-Sreenivasan movies,'' says actor Oduvil Unnikrishnan. Like Innocent, she effectively used the Thrissur dialect in her performances.
She often recalled a childhood of privation and misery. Her father was a gravedigger earned hardly enough to look after his wife and five children. Philomina studied only up to the fourth class. She was a member of the Valappad church choir. Indigence forced her to don the grease-paint early in life.
"Her performances drew upon her varied experiences. And this made the characters she played look authentic and believable,'' says Mr. Unnikrishnan.