Google on Friday celebrated the 120th birth anniversary of P.K. Rosy, the first female lead in Malayalam cinema with a doodle.
On February 10, 1903, Rosy was born Rajamma in Kerala’s capital city Thiruvananthapuram.
Rosy’s passion for acting began at a young age. In an era when performing arts was discouraged in many sections of society, especially for women, Rosy broke barriers with her role in the Malayalam film Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child), produced in 1928. Though she never received recognition for her work during her lifetime, Rosy’s story is relevant to conversations about representation in the media, a blog post of Google said.
Rosy belonged to the Dalit community and was persecuted and forced to leave the region just because she acted in the silent film Vigathakumaran, which was also the first Malayalam feature film. She had played Sarojini, a Nair woman, in the film. A Dalit playing the role of an higher caste woman had enraged the members of the community.
As per reports, her home was burnt down by upper castes and she eloped, got married to lorry driver Kesavan Pillai and spent rest of her life in Tamil Nadu as ‘Rajammal’.
Rosy’s contribution to Malayalam cinema was recognised posthumously by director Kamal through his Malayalam film Celluloid. Chandni Geetha essayed the role of Rosy in the film.
In 2019, the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), in an effort to honour her, launched a film society in her name. The collective in their statement had said, “Naming the society after Rosy is an attempt to take note of all those who have been excluded from dominant cinema histories and have been brought to light by many a scholar, historian and activist.”