Man for all occasions

M. S. Tripunithura needs no introduction. This veteran cine artiste has carved a niche for himself, but acting is not the be-all and end-all of his life. Abdul Latheef Naha spent some interesting moments with him.

HIS NAME is Madathiparambil Sesan Venkitarama Sarma. Nobody knows him by this name. But M. S. Tripunithura needs no introduction.

Fondly called by the initials, this veteran cine artiste has carved an unparalleled niche for himself.

M.S. is an interesting person. He can engage anyone for hours on end without boring. Catching the artiste at his loquacious best is fun and even more interesting, because you are promised to lose track of time's flight. Even amid the hustle on the eve of his brother's daughter's marriage in Kochi on Saturday, M.S. gleefully found time to talk to this paper.

And his voice echoed across the walls of the Ernakulathappan Hall. ``I don't believe in hush-hush affairs,'' M.S. said in a tone marked with vibrant sincerity.

The man who has done a wide variety of roles in more than 300 films and about 100 TV serials never threw the weight or aura of a busy artiste. He has been busy indeed; yet he finds time for activities which many of his contemporaries cannot even imagine.

This fact alone can place this man on a higher pedestal in the world of art.

He has learnt from cinema much more than seventeen years of teaching in different schools taught him.

He knows _ rightly _ the potential of the medium of cinema in the making of an artiste.

If he needed the support of Varghese Kattiparamban to act out his maiden role on silver screen in 1963, M.S. has now grown into a goliath who seeks to be pampered by no godfathers.

His maiden movie, Kadalamma, like many others, still remains popular. Perhaps there is no TV actor whose voice continues to echo in our living rooms throughout the prime time. M.S. has good roles in serials like Stree, Manasaputri, Abhayam, Sneha and Innale, which are telecast one after another during prime time.

But he doesn't find much glamour in acting today. There are few actors but many ``labourers in action,'' he said. According to him, that's one reason for the profession to lose its glamour and decency. There has been a good deal of value degradation in the field, he said.

The cost of cinema production has gone up greatly over the years; but the film industry has failed to grow in accordance with that, artistically and otherwise. While TV enhanced the audience standards and expectations, cinema failed to rise, he said. M.S. knows his comments would be rather unsavoury, but doesn't care.

You wouldn't see any other actor travelling on his vintage Humber bicycle through the streets. But M.S. does it, and is absolutely comfortable within the crowds of Thripunithura and Ernakulam. He feels _ and asserts _ he is one of them.

The culinary skills of the 60-year-old actor are famous. So is his passion for astrology and related matters. M.S. continues the legacy of his grandfather, who was the chief cook of Kochi Maharaja. M.S. ascribes his astrological talent to his guru, Kaimukku Parameswaran Namboodirippadu.

Though late in marriage, his wife Bhagyalakshmi has been the lady luck in his life. They have three daughters, Poornima, Pushpa and Pooja, dotting on them. Maybe it's time for M.S. to have another round of `murukkan'.

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