Kamal's movie focuses on Malayalam cinema's

Kamal's movie focuses on Malayalam cinema's - Sakshi Post


Not many know that the heroine of the first Malayalam cinema was a victim of the 'moral brigade' of the late 1920s as the self-declared custodians of social values found it hard to digest a Dalit woman doing the role of an upper caste woman.

Also, not much is known about the grim struggles of Malayalam's first film director J C Daniel for his radical approach when mythical themes dominated Indian films.
These exactly are the themes of veteran Malayalam director Kamal's upcoming movie 'Celluloid', which narrate the harrowing tale of Daniel and his heroine Rosy.
 Kamal, who has to his credit hits like 'Perumazhakkalam', 'Ee Puzhayum Kadannu' and 'Meghamalhar', says 'Celluloid' is a tribute to Daniel, considered the father of Malayalam cinema and in whose name the state government gives an award every year like the 'Phalke' award by the Union Government.
 Daniel,an ardent film buff, was a visionary who realized the immense scope of film as mass medium at a time when people had only a vague idea about the movie industries in Madras (Chennai now) and Bombay (Mumbai).
Seeking to translate his movie dreams into reality,Daniel, in his late twenties, travelled all the way to Bombay, the cradle of Indian cinema and learnt basics of movie making.
He came back to Kerala and directed the silent movie 'Vigathakumaran' (Lost Child) in 1928-30, which blazed the trail for the Malayalam film industry.
Youth icon Prithviraj plays Daniel's role while debutant Chandini essays the role of Rosy, heroine of Vigathakumaran, who had to flee her homeland on incurring wrath of custodians of moral values, who considered women taking to stage or cinema as something not different from sex work.
 Kamal says 'Celluloid' is a tribute to the genius of Daniel, who acted and wielded the camera for the first movie.    Daniel was an unsung hero in the history of Malayalam cinema.All other Malayalam filmmakers have trodden the path cleared by him.But he did not get any recognition in his time. My film is a tribute to him, Kamal said.
Celluloid is planned as a biographical film of Daniel interspersed with imagination. The story is narrated in the form of investigations by a film journalist into his life. It will tell the story till his death in 1970s. It will naturally be a film on the evolution of Malayalam cinema, said Kamal, who has penned the script.
According to film historians 'Vigathakumaran' was a path-breaker not only in the history of Malayalam films, but also in the lives of Daniel and Rosy, the first heroine.
 When screened for the first time at Capitol Theatre in Thiruvananthapuram, an angry crowd pelted stones and damaged the screen because of the presence of a woman in the film.
 The moral brigade which found it extremely hard to accept a Dalit woman portraying an upper caste woman's role, did not allow Rosy to enter the movie house to see herself on screen.
 Later, they set ablaze her hut in an obscure corner in the city, forcing her to flee to Tamil Nadu and remain away from public glare till her death.
 Daniel also had to end his film career running deep into debt and had to sell all his properties, including equipment.
 Kamal said he has done extensive research on the subject for the last four years but could come across only a few documents and authentic information about Daniel and Rosy.
 The storyline is structured on the basis of writings of Malayalam film historian Chelangat Gopalakrishnan, who has penned Daniel's biography and from an interview by noted journalist Manarcaud Mathew.
 The novel on Rosy's life by journalist-turned scriptwriter Vinu Abraham titled 'Nashtanayika' (The lost heroine) also offered valuable information, Kamal said.
 Vinu Abraham said lack of enough material was the major challenge in doing any work on the subject though all those events had happened just some decades ago.
 The prints of 'Vigathakumarn' are missing. Not even a photograph of Rosy,a daily-wage earner from erstwhile princely state of Travancore, is available. A notice bill on it's first screening and writings of film journalists like Chelangatt are the only available sources to recreate her life,Abraham said.
Kamal said selection of the theme of 'Vigathakumaran' is enough to prove Daniel's brilliance as a film maker.
It was a period when mythical films based on 'puranas' dominated the Indian film industry. But Daniel chose a social theme for his first flick. It shows his farsightedness and awareness of cinema outside India as a powerful social medium. In my view, Vigathakumaran could be considered as the first social drama in the Indian cinema, he said.
 Kamal said he was not much bothered about his film's commercial viability and wants it to be a textbook for the young generation to know about film-making in Malayalam and its unsung heroes.
 Srinivasan and Mamtha Mohandas also play significant characters in the movie.
-PTI

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