Kerala

Adoor Bhasi’s brief brush with local body polls

Some of the comic incidents during the campaigning find mention in the book Adoor Bhasi - Chiriyum Chinthayum.  

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM One of the most memorable images of actor Adoor Bhasi is of a tireless campaigner in a panchayat election singing the song 'Kuruvipetti...', laden with election promises. In that song from the 1966 film Sthanarthi Saramma, written by Vayalar Ramavarma, he promises everything from mountains of rice to an airport near the canal, and even a promise to dismiss the Tax Department.

But, it is a little known fact that a few years before that film, in the early 1960s, Adoor Bhasi was himself a candidate in a local body election, contesting in the Vazhuthacaud ward of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation. It was K. Balakrishnan, better known as Kaumudi Balakrishnan, one of the founders of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), who was one of Bhasi's mentors who suggested him to become a candidate.

Bhasi was then in his early days as an actor, having become a known face in the theatre circuit in Thiruvananthapuram. He was up against a candidate from the Praja Socialist Party (PSP), led by Pattom Thanu Pillai. Bhasi's brother and journalist Padman had written about some of the comic incidents during the campaigning for that election in his book Adoor Bhasi - Chiriyum Chinthayum.

Outsider tag

The most striking one has to do with Bhasi's name, which had the place name Adoor attached to it. It would have been an advantage if he were contesting in Adoor, but in Thiruvananthapuram, it was easy to get an outsider tag while contesting. Bhasi had begun his ground-level campaigning from the house of an old patriarch, which had more than 50 votes in the extended family. The moment he mentioned his name to the patriarch, he shot back, "If you are from Adoor, why didn't you contest from there?"

In another part, Bhasi talks about walking briskly away on spotting his own campaign committee office while taking a walk through Vazhuthacaud, because he did not have enough money to give the workers in there. Veteran journalist T.J.S. George, in his memoir Ghoshayathra, talks about the campaigning during which Pattom Thanu Pillai, forgetting for a moment that he was supposed to speak against Bhasi, started praising his talent and the brilliant writings by his grandfather C.V. Raman Pillai and father E.V. Krishna Pillai.

Despite all the hope invested on him by the Opposition front which was trying to make inroads into the Corporation, Adoor Bhasi lost the election by 30 votes.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 7:04:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/adoor-bhasis-brief-brush-with-local-body-polls/article33221793.ece

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