Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The Loss of a Legend. Lohithadas.

Film personalities are like fireflies. They light up the lives of many, and then fade into oblivion. Hardly do cinegoers ponder over their deaths or disappearances for more than a day. But this time around, it is just so different. Forget the cliche that 'He was a pillar of the Malayalam film industry' and all that. Just recall his films, and you will know what I mean.

Thaniyavarthanam, Kireedom, His Highness Abdullah, Bharatham, Amaram, Kamaladalam, Vatsalyam, Thoovalkkottaram..

The power of his pen was such that right from the first film he wrote, the industry knew that here was a man to be reckoned with. Thaniyavarthanam, his first screenplay filmed by Sibi Malayil is still a seething wound in the minds of Malayalis. This team went on to make more cinema that crushed our hearts and left us shattered. Those melodramas changed the way we experienced cinema until then.

Thanks to the justice Lohi always showed to his characters, some of the most memorable performances of our superstars, without which they would have hardly attained the stature they have today, came through his films. Mohanlal won his first national award through Bharatham penned by Lohi. However, my personal favourite of Lal-Lohi combination is Nandagopan from Kamaladalam.

Mind you, it is not just the superstars who were blessed by his pen. Nedumudi Venu in His Highness Abdullah, KPAC Lalitha in Amaram, Thilakan in Veendum Chila Veettukaryangal, Bindu Panicker in Joker, Oduvil Unnikrishnan in Thoovalkkottaram are all fine examples that Lohi's characters, even if they are not the protagonists, are always well-etched and give a lot of scope to the actors. Another character that comes to my mind right now is the Muthachhan from Thoovalkkottaram played by Babu Swamy. I am incapable to think of another screenwriter who could have made such an inconsequential character look so important.

A few months before his untimely death, Lohi had opined that Malayalam cinema lacked a new generation of actors, and the existing ones are too old and overused. As much as he was a man of perfect words, he was also a man of action. When he turned a director, this is why he took the effort to find new faces who suited his characters than write stories for the establised actors who have minimum guarantee. Lakshmi Gopalaswami, Manya, Meera Jasmine, Bhama, Vinu Mohan - so many of them in that list apart from Manju Warrier and Samyuktha Varma who also got introduced through his screenplays.

Somehow, I am in awe for Lohi, the screenplay writer more than Lohi, the director. When he debuted as a director with Bhoothakkannadi, it seemed the most natural thing to do for a creatively mature writer. However, none of his directorial ventures struck a chord with the audience as much as his screenplays directed by Sibi, Bharathan or Satyan Anthikkad. And before he could prove this observation wrong, he left the silver screen forever, much like most of his films - leaving behind a lingering pain.

Any Malayali who has witnessed the late 80s and 90s of Malayalam cinema will know that his talent was of a different leagure altogether - one that can never be replaced with. And yet, this country never attested it with a National award. May be, the juries knew that this man never cared about anything except creating ripples with human emotions.

I am so glad my first dose of memorable films came from him. For all those unwritten screen poems by Lohi that left with him - Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.

Image Courtesy :
nishusworld.blogspot.com

8 comments:

Nishanth said...

Please carry on and thanks for the information.

regards,
Nishanth Thachambalath
http://nishusworld.blogspot.com/

Nags said...

I was watching udayanaanu thaaram the other day on asianet (for the nth time) and there was break just after a scene where he talks to sreeni about the screenplay. during the break, they showed a trailer that was about him and memories and stuff.. that's when i knew he is no more! was a true shocker, esp after just seeing him in that movie. i know very little about him but still felt sad.. very sad..

sivadeep said...

Well written with so much of information as if one had gone into the Malayalam film world. Keep posting.

Ardramaanasam said...

@ Nags - You may not have known much about Lohi. But I can bet that a few of his films will definitely be there in your favourite film list. He was a genius.

@ Siva - Thanks for your appreciation. You have always been generous with me and continue to be so. It gives a lot of impetus to keep on writing.

rahul s said...

yea...i was not much aware about his films other than the most recent ones...
thanks for the information..and now i am sad.. Malayalam film industry has lost yet another talented director...same was felt when shri.Padmarajan n Shri.Barathan left us...

shalu said...

well written ardra..............

Anonymous said...

well written ardra..............

Anitsree said...

Exceptional write up....keep up the work....