Kerala

Vijaya Nirmala: Malayalam’s most loved Yakshi

Vijaya Nirmala  

Vijaya Nirmala, who died in Hyderabad on Thursday at the age of 75, may have acted only in 20-odd films in Malayalam, but she had made her presence felt.

And it was in Malayalam that she had made her debut as director, that too at a time few women were willing to move behind the camera. The Malayali, of course, remembers more for her work in front of the camera. And her impact was sudden.

She attained immortality with her first film, as the Yakshi (ghost) in Bhargavi Nilayam, which also marked the debut of master director A. Vincent. The film scripted by the legendary Vaikom Mohammad Basheer went on to attain cult status.

An outstanding musical score by the crack combination of P. Bhaskaran and M.S. Baburaj ensured that the film would never be forgotten.

Thamasamenthe varuvaan..., rendered by Yesudas, is one of the most popular songs in Malayalam ever. She lit up the screen with her lovely smile (which appears during the line Paaloli chandrikayil nin mandahaasam kanduvallo..., meaning I saw your smile in bright, milky moonlight).

But it is in the picturisation of the S. Janaki song Pottatha ponnin kinaavu kondoru... that she got more space.

In her next film, Rosie, too she got to be part of an iconic song – Alliyambal kadavilannaraykku vellam...

She, however, could not make it big as a heroine in Malayalam, like Sheela or Jayabharathi. “She was one of the most beautiful actresses of our time,” Kaviyoor Ponnamma, who acted with her in many films and was a friend, told The Hindu.

“We were pretty close and I have even stayed at her house in Chennai.”

She was also closely associated with the late Malayalam director I.V. Sasi. He had once told this writer that he had helped her while directing her first film, Kavitha.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 6:54:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/malayalams-most-loved-yakshi/article28191780.ece

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