An eventful career

Sithara has not changed much. She continues to act in movies in all the south Indian languages, just as she used to do in her heyday.

“I would rather play a character of my age, or close to it,” she says at Kozhikode, during a break from the shoot of Saigal Padukayanu , a film directed by Sibi Malayil. “I decided to do this film because I get to play a woman going through different stages of her life. I also appear as a 20-year-old.”

The Thiruvananthapuram-based artiste is happy that she is able to work with Sibi finally. “I missed out on working with many fine directors like in Malayalam cinema because I was busy acting in films of other languages,” she says. “I enjoyed spreading my wings as a heroine; I had good time in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, even as I did films like Oridath , Jathakam , Vachanam and Mazhavil Kavadi .”

She says she was fortunate that she could make a mark in films of other languages without struggle. “I was introduced by the legendary K. Balachander in Tamil, through Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal ,” she says. “He remains the biggest influence on me as an actress. It was after working with him that I really became serious about my career in cinema.”

She went on doing memorable films in Tamil such as Pudhu Vasantham . “I was lucky to be part of several hit films in Telugu and Kannada as well,” she says. “I may have missed out on some Malayalam films but I have no regrets; it has been fun learning different languages.”

The Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, has a special place in the average Malayali film buff’s heart, for some of the legendary filmmakers from the State, both in parallel and mainstream cinema, shaped their art there and later went on to become teachers there. So, when the students of the FTII came out strongly in protest against the Union government’s alleged saffronisation of the institute with the appointment of serial actor Gajendra Chouhan as its chairman, the rumbles were felt in the State too.

Cinematographer Santosh Sivan fired the first salvo, by declining to be on the governing council of the institute. Soon, other filmmakers including Adoor Gopalakrishnan came out with statements against the appointment of someone whose claim to fame include several b-grade flicks and a starring role in a television marketing show.

With the students not giving in, the protest spilled out onto the streets in Kerala too. On Wednesday, musician Shahabaz Aman led a protest at Mananchira in Kozhikode. On Thursday, film-makers Rajeev Ravi, Amal Neerad and Joy Mathew and artist Riyas Komu led the protests in Kochi. Over the weekend, such protests are set to happen in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and other places, with participation from many filmmakers who are part of the large clan of FTII alumni in the State.

The only discordant note was struck by actor Suresh Gopi, whose appointment as the head of the National Film Development Corporation has been criticised as another instance of saffronisation. He said that the protest at the FTII should be suppressed and that students should not have the rights to question appointments. The ire expectedly turned against him too.

At the protest at the FTII too, there’s a strong Malayali presence with graffiti of John Abraham and others accompanied with revolutionary slogans on display.

The action is taking place online too as students are digging up old film clips of Gajendra Chouhan, some from soft porn flicks, and sharing it widely. Some badly made short films by two other new appointees eulogising the Prime Minister have also become a hit online.

(Reporting by P.K. Ajith Kumar, S.R. Praveen)

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 1:52:27 AM |

Next Story