New trails of discovery

Print edition : October 18, 2013

Sheela and Madhu in "Chemmeen" (1965) in which the director Ramu Kariat brought together exceptional talents like Marcus Bartley (cinematography), Hrishikesh Mukherjee (editing), Vayalar Ravi Varma (lyrics) and Salil Chowdhury (music). The film, based on Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai's novel of the same name, won the first National Best Film Award for Malayalam cinema.

A scene from the only surviving full-length silent movie in south Indian languages, "Marthandavarma" (Malayalam and Tamil, 1931).

Sathyan and Miss Kumari in "Neelakuyil" (1954). Photo: The Hindu Photo Archives

P.J. Antony and Sumithra in "Nirmalyam" (1973). Photo: The Hindu Photo Archives

P. Bhaskaran. Photo: S. Gopakumar

Ramu Kariat. Photo: The Hindu Archives

In "Uttarayan" (1974), G. Aravindan's first film. Photo: The Hindu Photo Archives

In "Kabani Nadi Chuvannappol" (1975). Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Adoor Bhasi in John Abraham's "Cheriyachante Kroorakrithyangal". Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Mammootty and Mohanlal in "Twenty:20" (2008).

P.A. Backer. Photo: The Hindu Photo Archives

Bharathan. Photo: The Hindu Archives

G. Aravindan. Photo: The Hindu Photo Archives

John Abraham. Photo: The Hindu Photo Archives

From "Chitra Sutram" (2010).

Cinema was adopted enthusiastically by the pluralistic society of Kerala, just emerging from feudalism and casteism in the early 20th century, as an ideal medium to project its dreams, desires and, later on, its disillusionments.

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