Silk Smitha Debut Film Director Anthony Eastman Passes Away In Thrissur

Silk Smitha Debut Director Antony Eastman Dies In Thrissur - Sakshi Post

Malayalam director-producer Antony Eastman, who is credited with introducing popular dancer of the 80’s and 90’s - Silk Smitha to films, died at the age of 74 due to cardiac arrest in Thrissur, Kerala on Saturday.

Antony was born at Chowannur near Kunnamkulam in 1946 and had started his Eastman Studio in Ernakulum in the mid-1960s, and he became popular as Antony Eastman after that. He had directed six films, including ‘Mridula’, ‘Ice Cream’, ‘Vayal’ and ‘Varnatheru’. His last film was ‘Ambada Njane’. He initially worked as a still photographer for 13 films, written stories for nine films, and wrote the script for one film, and also acted in a film.

Eastman's debut directorial venture was ‘Inaye Thedi’ (1979), and it was also the debut film for Smitha and Kalashala Babu as actors and Paul as a scriptwriter.

Eastman was originally planning to cast national award winner Sobha in that film. However, he had to explore alternative options following the death of Sobha and introduced Silk Smitha and the rest they say his history.

In an earlier interview, Anthony while talking about how he cast Silk Smitha, stated that they were looking for a heroine, and conducted auditions on many young girls without make-up at Kodambakkam in Tamil Nadu. But among them, there was a  dusky girl sitting there dressed poorly and who looked like a maid. He took photographs of her without make-up and decided to cast her as the heroine.  Vijayalakshmi which was her real name agreed to do the film when informed that she would give the film a special identity. It was the time when Smita Patil was a popular actress who was also dusky like her, so they renamed her Smitha and she did justice to her character. She later garnered notice with her first major role in the Tamil film Vandichakkaram made in the same year and this was when Smitha assumed the screen name "Silk", after her character's name in the movie.

Antony leaves behind his wife Mary, son Ganji and daughter Mini and was buried at  Kadupissery Sacred Heart Church.

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