Piecing together `Balan'

ALTHOUGH `BALAN' was the first talkie and the first box office hit in Malayalam, the film today exists only in books. The most you can do to `see' the film is to read the book, `Good Luck to Everybody' by R. Gopalakrishnan.

Writing about the inside story of `Balan,' Gopalakrishnan has painstakingly tried to maintain that feel of watching a movie, as he provides us a scene- by-scene account of the real life drama behind the making of `Balan.' In the quest to understand the difficulties that had to be overcome to make this film, we have to go through the fading memories of the people involved in it, diary pages, film notices, songbooks, vintage pictures and a variety of memorabilia. The presence of rare black and white photographs makes the going easy and compelling. Half the job is thus done.

Meanwhile, the narrative goes through the lives of the persons who were associated with the making of the film. Dramatic settings

The introductory chapter itself is very dramatic. We see the writer attempting to trace Madanagopal, the artiste who played the child `Balan.' The narrative is so gripping that one shares the writer's disappointment when his queries reach a dead end. The search continues. A number of anecdotes related to `Balan' relieve the tedium when the going becomes difficult.


Recommended for you