Monday, March 28, 2016


T.N.Gopakumar was a well noted Journalist,Writer,TV Programme producer and presenter,Film director,TV Serial Director and so on.He earned much appreciation, respect and love from TV viewers for the Asianet Channel's weekly programme 'Kannadi' which he produced,directed and anchored  for about twenty years.That programme earned tremendous mass appeal and completed more than 600 episodes successfully.
T.N.Gopakumar was born at Sucheendram in 1957 as the son of P.Neelakanta Sharma and L.Thankamma.His father was a religious Vedic Scholar and a 'Sthanikar' of Sucheendram Temple.Gopakumar had his schooling at Sucheendram and Nagercoil.He studied at Institute of English,Kerala University for B.A. and M.A.course.After journalism course he joined 'Indian Express Newspaper'  as a Journalist.Later he worked with Newspapers and Periodicals such as 'Mathrubhumi,News Time,India Today,Statesman,Independent' and so on.He was popularly known as T.N.G.
While he was working with BBC at Delhi, he was invited to join the newly formed TV Channel, Asianet.He was News Editor in Chief at 'Asianet' and also handled the weekly news based programme 'Kannadi' very efficiently.
'Kannadi' earned much mass appeal which reviewed relevant main news of a week and also handled the problems of the poor and suppressed sectors of the society.Several poor needy destitute people with none to turn to for help or support including widows,old aged people,chronic Patients,Orphans etc got help from 'Kannadi' to get back to the track of life.Broad

minded viewers with helping hands from India and abroad donated to 'Kannadi' to help the genuine needy people as per his request.
By the programme 'Kannadi' he helped to resolve many grievances of   individuals and public which were brought to the attention of the authorities concerned and got fast proper action for them.
The unique masculine voice and presentation style of 'Kannadi' by T.N.Gopakumar was very much loved by all viewers and he was much appreciated and received much accolades.
T.N.G. was also author of about fifteen books including 'A Collection of Short Stories,Novels,Travelogues,Political reviews,Autobiography etc.Some of his books are 'Sucheendram Rekhakal,Soodran,Koodaram,Dilli,Volgo Tharangangal' etc.His Autobiography titled 'Sucheendram Rekhakal' got Kerala Sahithya Academy award in 1998 and for a travelogue book 'Volgo Thanrangangal' also he received Kerala Sahithya Academy Award.A novel 'Palum Pazhavum' is being published in a Malayalam weekly at present.
He directed a TV serial by name 'Verukal' and a Malayalam film 'Jeevan Masai'.Nedumudi Venu, Kavyamadhavan,Vijayaraghavan,Sreevidya,V.K.Sreeraman,Manu Varma,M.R.Gopakumar  etc  were the actors of the film.
T.N.Gopakumar passed away on 30th January 2016 at the age of 58.
His wife is Heather Gopakumar and they have two daughters, Gayathri and Kaveri. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mrinalini Sarabhai

Mrinalini Sarabhai was a distinguished Indian Classical Dance exponent who trained several thousand aspirant students in various dance forms like Bhartanatyam,Mohiniyattam,Kuchipudi,Kathakali,Manipuri etc.She earned much fame and prestige for these dance forms by performing marvelously at many Indian Cities and in many foreign countries also.This accomplished dancer and choreographer was a writer also who published many novels,plays and stories for children as well as books about dance forms.
Mrinalini Sarabhai was a member of 'Palakkad Ottappalam Aanakkara Vadakkethu family' of Kerala.Her father Dr.Swaminathan was a well known advocate who practiced at Chennai and her mother Ammu Swaminathan was a social activist,Indian Freedom fighter and later member of the Indian  Parliament.Captain Lakshmi who worked along with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National Army in the Indian Freedom movement was her sister.

Mrinalini had the ambition to become an expert dancer from her childhood itself.After finishing her school studies, she got training in Western classical dance from Switzerland.After returning to India she joined 'Shantiniketan' at Calcutta and became a favorite disciple of Rabindranath Tagore.While studying there she manifested the main roles of all dance dramas of Rabindranath Tagore.She later  also got opportunity to get trained at American Academy of Dramatic Arts for a short period.After returning to India she underwent ' Bharatanatyam Classical dance training from 'Guru' Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai and Kathakali from 'Guru' Thakazhy Kunchu Kurup.She also learnt  some other classical dance varieties and became and became an exponent by her humble dedication and hard work.She used to say that dance was her life and breath.

In 1942 she got married to Dr.Vikram Sarabhai , father of Indian Space program.
In the year 1946 she started the 'Darpana Academy of Performing Arts' an Institute for training students mainly  in classical dance forms  at Ahmedabad in Gujarat in a very beautiful, enchanting location on the banks of a river.She trained numerous students in various classical dance forms,performed her graceful dances and dance dramas at numerous stages in India and abroad,Choreographed more than 300 dance dramas and was always deeply involved and dedicated for the upheaval of all art forms.
She also served as the Chairman of the Gujarat State Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation Ltd.
She was given Padma Shree from Government of India in 1965 and she received Padma Bhushan from Government of India in 1992.
She was also recipient of 'Pravasi Kalaratna Award' from Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Academy.She also received awards for Kathakali, and many other National and International awards for Classical dance.
Her daughter Mallika Sarabhai is a renowned and accomplished Classical dancer.
Mrinalini Sarabhai

passed away on 21st January 2016 at Ahmedabad at the age of 97.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Margi Sathi

Margi Sathi was an exponent of the well renowned Classical art form of Kerala  'Koodiyattam' which is a combined form of Dance and Drama.She was also an accomplished performer of 'Nagiarkoothu' which is also an ancient classical art form of Kerala which is performed by females only.
Koodiyattam is believed to be  originated in Kerala and has a heritage of more than 2000 years.This art form was performed only in temples where  'Koothambalam', a separate building for enacting this dance drama were built.Koodiyattam  and art forms such as  'Koothu' and 'Nangiarkoothu' were performed only in 'Koothambalam' which are there in many   temple premises up to 1950 but these art forms are allowed outside the temple premises at present.
 In India, Koodiyattam is the only ancient classical  dance-drama art form that follows the rules of the ancient text 'Natya Sasthram' till today.Mani Madhava Chakyar, a maestro of Koodiyattam took courage to take this art form outside temple premises and performed in many places in India and abroad.Koodiyattam received International recognition when UNESCO proclaimed it as a "masterpiece of Oral and intangible heritage of humanity" in the year 2001.
Margi Sathi was also present at Paris  at the UNESCO Headquarters on that  occasion and along with her Guru and  troupe performed Koodiyattam there.

Margi Sathi was born to parents Subramanyan Embranthiri and Parvathy Antharjanam in 1965 at Cheruthuruthi in Thrissur.She learnt 'Koodiyattam' from Kerala Kalamandalam  from the age of 11 and that course extended for 8 years.At the prestigious Kerala Kalamandalam Institute, her 'Gurus' for Koodiyattam course were 'Painkulam Rama Chakyar,Mani Madhava Chakyar and Ammannur Madhava Chakyar' who were all brilliant experts in this art form.
After  completion of the course she got married to Subramanyan Potti who was an exponent of  percussion instruments 'Edakka and Mizhavu' which are used for Koodiyattam,Koothu and Nangiar Koothu.Edakka is also played during pooja rituals in temples.After her marriage she moved to Thiruvananthapuram, the native place of her husband.
At Trivandrum she joined 'Margi  Dance Institute' where Koodiyattam,Koothu,Namgiar Koothu,Kathakali and some other dance forms are taught and  she got well trained in 'Nangiar Koothu'.Padmashri.P.K.Nambiar was her main Guru at Margi for 'Nangiarkoothu'.
She performed  Nangiarkoothu on many stages and also enacted female characters for Koodiyattam and became  famous as 'Margi Sathi' by adding the epithet 'Margi' with her name.
At the institute  'Margi' she also contributed and assisted  Dr.K.Ayyappa Panikkar and D.Appukuttan Nair for certain contemporary  changes of the dance-drama 'Koodiyattam'  and also for its  upheaval.
She wrote 'Sreerama Charitham,Seethayanam and Bhaktha Meera' for enactment in Nangiarkoothu.
She acted in the Malayalam  movie 'Nottam' in 2005 which has a theme based on Nangiarkoothu.The director of that film  'Sasi Paravoor' requested   Margi Sathi to act  as the heroine and she accepted it.During the shooting of this film her husband died of an electric shock.Margi Sathi appeared in a few other films of directors such as 'M.P.Sukumaran Nair,P.Balachandran' and so on  later.
Kerala Government gave her the post as Koodiyattam teacher at Kerala Kalamandalam in the year 2005.
Margi Sathi received awards and recognition

 such as  Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Academy Award,Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture,Kaladarpanam Award,Thunchan Smaraka Samithi Award,Natyaratnam Puraskaram and many more.

She passed away on Dec 1, 2015 at the age of 50.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bharata Kesari Mannathu Padmanabhan

Bharata Kesari  Shri.Mannathu Padmanabhan was the founder leader of the Nair Service Society (N.S.S) an organisation formed for the unity and welfare of the Nairs, a major Community sector  of the Hindus in Kerala.This non political Organisation was formed by Mannathu Padmanabhan along with some of his friends at Changanacherry, in Kerala on 31st October 1914.Mannathu Padmanabhan served as the General Secretary of this organisation for 31 years and then as the President for three years.The headquarters of N.S.S is at Changanacherry and there are more than 5000 'Karayogams' which are branches of this society functioning in main Villages, Towns and Cities all over Kerala and in some other parts of India where large group of Nairs are residing.
Mannathu Padmanabha Pillai was born on January 2nd, 1878 to parents Easwaran Namboothiri of Nilavana Illam and Charumuttathu Parvathy Amma at Perunna in Changanacherry.He began his career as a primary School teacher but learnt law and practiced at Magistrate Courts later.
There were several rustic traditional practices followed by Nairs as a custom, some of which like 'Pulikudi' adiyanthiram, 'Sapindi Adiyanthiram', and so on which were all feasts given to the people of the locality that drained the financial capacity of many families. Many of such unnecessary feasts and  feasts distributed after the death of a person were all stopped by the N.S.S. and the unnecessary 'tea party' arranged on many such occasions are also banned.There are many other progressive actions implemented by the N.S.S  for the prosperity of Nairs in general. Almost all Nairs in Kerala are members of 'Nair Service Society' and abides the regulations and rules  of the society.

Mannathu Padmanabhan was a person who possessed immaculate leadership qualities and  he had a foresight into several significant matters concerned for the welfare of Nairs.As a person with tremendous power of comprehension, he was capable of materializing his dreams into reality.He also worked for uplifting the lower castes and was a participant in the famous 'Vaikom Sathyagraha'.
He was a true patriot and a freedom fighter.
Mannathu Padmanabhan observed that by providing good education only, a society can progress to betterment  and by this vision Nair Service Society started large number of Schools,Colleges and Professional Colleges under

 its management, all over Kerala.Colleges like 'N.S.S.Hindu College,Changanacherry,N.S.S.College,Pandalam, M.G.College Trivandrum' etc are some of the prestigious educational institutions functioning in Kerala by  N.S.S management.

Mannathu Padmanabhan was the first President of 'Travancore Devaswom Board'.
Mannathu Padmanabhan was also familiar  as 'Mannam'.He was given the title 'Bharata Kesari' as a honour by the President of India.He was also the recipient of 'Padma Bhushan' Award.
Mannathu Padmanabhan passed away on February 25, 1970.
His birthday on January 2, is celebrated as 'Mannam Jayanthi' all over the state and many other places in India and abroad.Processions,public meetings and cultural programs are arranged in many places.
Kerala Government has declared 2nd January, the  'Mannam Jayanthi' as a public Holiday from 2016 on wards.  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

J.C.Daniel - Father Of Malayalam Cinema

J.C.Daniel is considered as the Father of Malayalam Cinema who was courageous to set up a Film Studio at Thiruvanathapuram and produced as well as directed the first ever feature film in Malayalam. Kerala Government is giving an award to a celebrity in the Malayalam  cinema field as Life time Achievement  Award in the name of J.C.Daniel which is the highest Cinema award given by Kerala Government.It is as a  honor to J.C.Daniel who is the Father of Malayalam Cinema.
J.C.Daniel was a Dentist by profession and lived in Trivandrum  and his roots were in Tamil Nadu.He was a very wealthy person who owned large area of land in Trivandrum and Tamil Nadu.He mastered in the martial arts of Kerala 'Kalaripayattu' and was very much impressed by that.He thought that he should give wide publicity for this legendary  art form and  he selected  cinema as a media for communicating to the people.It was during the 1925 period and at that time cinema was in the childhood stage in India.Only silent movies without soundtrack was
exhibited and a commentator who sits beside the screen would narrate what is happening on the screen and also
tells the dialogues also.Since Cinema  was a new invention and an attractive media people were thrilled and viewed other language films and
foreign  films. Films were exhibited in  a few permanent theaters existed in that period  and also at touring theaters.
Very much impressed about  the cinema J.C.Daniel went to Chennai where there was a  film Studio functioning  at that time.He was not allowed to enter there to know about cinema but he proceeded to Mumbai.There at Mumbai he got opportunity  to understand all aspects about cinema production and the instruments  needed for the production of films and processing.He came back to Trivandrum and sold all his properties for Rs.4 Lakhs which was a huge amount those days  and set up a Studio for Cinema Production at  Pattom in Trivandrum city itself.
J.C.Daniel wrote the story,Scripted it,Directed it and done editing also by himself 
in the name 'Vigatha Kumaran'(Lost child).At that time females  were not allowed to enter into acting profession since it was  considered as a sin.In the film a  young woman  by name 'Rosie' was acting as the heroine.The childhood days of the hero was acted by J.C.Daniel's son itself.J.C.Daniel also handled a major role in the movie.When the film was ready he felt very happy because he had fulfilled his dream project.There was only one print and it was exhibited at the theater in Trivandrum.
When the female character entered on the screen the spectators realized that she was a keralite woman and
they protested.Some of the viewers threw stones on the projector and screen   and the show had to be  discontinued.
J.C.Daniel lost his confidence but at some other centers like Alleppey it was well accepted and people did not bother about the Malayali heroine.There were only ten or twelve permanent theaters in Kerala at that period and the
collections from the film did not meet the expenses.J.C.Daniel could not move ahead with more projects even though he made a documentary film about martial arts 'Kalari Payattu' .He became bankrupt and had to sell his studio.He went to Madurai in Tamil Nadu and continued with his Dentistry profession.Meanwhile
the heroine 'Rosie' also was  not allowed to live peacefully in Kerala by her neighbours and  she fled to Tamil Nadu
and settled down by marrying somebody from there.
Since the number of theaters were very less  the film was not a success and 
the heroine problem also worked against Daniel's dreams and expectations.We should appreciate his abilities to acquire full knowledge
about cinema at that period and to utilize it successfully all alone.The story and screenplay were also not bad.He was having ideas
and if the film would have been a success  heshould have made a lot of films from his Studio.
Rs.4 Lakh in 1928 was  a huge amount  and now it can be taken as 4 crores and he lost all for the  sake of Malayalam cinema  and  we should thank him for initiating Malayalam Film Production.
Add caption

Scene from 'Vigatha Kimaran'
.  'Vigatha Kumaran' is the first Malayalam film (silent movie).

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dada Saheb Phalke-Father Of Indian Cinema

Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, better known as Dadasaheb Phalke is famous as the Father of Indian Cinema.He was the producer/director of 95 feature films.
Dadasaheb Phalke was born on 30 April 1870 at Tryambakeshwar, near Nasik,Maharashtra.After schooling he joined 'Kala Bhavan' Baroda, from where he got training in Photography,Painting,Sculpture,Engineering,drawing etc.
When Phalke watched a film 'Life of Christ' in 1910 he felt very much impressed about the new media   and started to think seriously about making movies.He gathered data about the techniques and instruments required for film production.He traveled to England and made arrangements for the shipment of the movie camera and other instruments to India.
He gave adequate training of loading the film in the movie camera and film  processing etc to his wife also.
Dadasaheb Phalke wanted to make stories from Hindu mythology since it would be familiar to most of the audience and  the elaborate sets,costumes,
and fantasy scenes would be appealing to the audience.
As the first movie he planned to produce 'Raja Harishchandra', the story of a King  who stood firmly for the sake of truth.
To convince financiers about the new medium, as well as his capability to make movies, he made a short film 'The birth of a pea plant' and exhibited it  to them.They felt confident about Phalke's abilities and  readily agreed to finance the project.
At that period it took more than six months to finish the film.Dadasaheb Phalke had instructed his cast and  crew members to keep about the film making a secret and so more than 500 people who worked on the project said to others that they work  in a  Harishchandra's factory.
During the initial period getting female artists to act in films   was also a big  problem and in his first film the role of 'Maharani Taramati' was portrayed by a male actor 'Anna Salunke'.
'Raja Harishchandra' was released in 1913 and it was a big success.It got recognition as the first full length feature film of India.
Dadasaheb Phalke approached the film field with full dedication.Many of his movies were virtually a feast for the audience.He did not hesitate to initiate his  daughter Mandakini to  act as 'Krishna' in 'Kalia Mardan' of 1919.
Altogether he made 95 feature films and 26 short films in his career.
He formed a film company 'Hindustan Films' in partnership with five business men of Mumbai  but after a few years  later withdrew from it.
His last film was 'Gangavataran' in 1937.
Dadasaheb Phalke passed away  on 15 Feb. 1944.
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which is the highest Cinema award in India is instituted in his honor by the Government of India.

Scene from 'Raja Harishchandra'

A scene from 'Lanka Dahan'

Monday, October 26, 2015

Velu Thampi Dalawa

Chempakaraman Velayudhan Thampi(1765-1809) was the Chief Minister of  His Highness Maharaja Balarama Varma of Travancore state of Kerala.He was popularly known as Velu Thampi Dalawa.(Dalawa means Chief Minister ).He was chief minister from 1801 to 1809.Velayudhan Chempakaraman Thampi was born in the village of 'Kalkulam' to parents Kunjumayitti Pillai and Valliamma Thankachy on 6th May 1765.
He started his career as the Tehsildar of Mavelikkara Taluk and earned the reputation as a good administrator.During that period the Dalawa of the King was a corrupted man by name Jayanthan Nampoothiri.When he was accused of a murder case there was protest to remove him from his Office.Velu Thampi who had tremendous potential to attract the attention of a large crowd, gathered so many people together  and marched to the palace demanding the resignation  of the  Dalawa.
Velu Thampi was victorious in this effort and the King appointed Velu Thampi as the new Chief minister.Velu Thampi was vested with more administrative  power as a token of his efficiency and public support.Soon the state was on the path of prosperity under his leadership and guidance.Corruption was not tolerated and the punishments given to the accused  were very severe.He was known and famous  as 'Idayaprabhu Kulothunga Kathirkulathu Mulappada Arasarana Irayanda Thalakulathu Valia Veettil Chempakaraman Velayudhan Thampi'.
This was the period when East India Company could establish their empire in India..There was no unity among the princely local rulers and jealousy and rivalry also existed among them which helped British to defeat them one by one and establish their empire.There was Maratha wars,Mysore wars lead by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, Carnatic wars Sikh War lead lead by Raja Ranjith Singh and many more against the British  which they could suppress easily.Nobody remembered the proverb 'Unity is Strength'.
Velu Thampi was not tolerant to accept the British Supremacy and was not  willing  to pay them the high amount of Royalty as demanded by the East India Company.The state of Travancore was friendly with the State of Cochin in Kerala.During that period the ruler of Cochin handed over the administrative charges to his Chief Minister  Govinda Menon(Commonly known as Paliath Achan) and was taking rest at Aluva Palace.Paliath Achan was also not willing to pay the excessive royalty amount to East India Company which resulted in rivalry between East India Company and clashes with these two Chief Ministers.
Moreover Velu Thampi made a proclamation at a place Kundara such that Foreign supremacy can not be tolerated and that British involvement in the cultural integrity and self pride of Kerala will not be allowed.This is known as 'Kundara Proclamation' and resulted in a war between British troops and Travancore troops near Kollam.In that battle Travancore troops  of Velu Thampi was defeated.Velu Thampi had to flee for his life from the Palace accompanied with his younger brother.The British very well knew that if the Dalawa   was  left alive he would summon a large group of people within a short span of time  and attack them again.So they proclaimed Rs.50,000/-

which was a huge amount at that time  for any body who could give them  information  about his whereabouts .Velu Thampi had plans to go to Northern Kerala and on the way he handed over his sword at Kilimanoor Palace to keep it under safe custody there.
During the next day night he took refuge in a Devi temple at Mannadi in Pathanamthitta district.A greedy resident of the locality informed to the British that Veluthampi Dalawa was staying inside  the temple.British troops surrounded the temple immediately.Velu Thampi understood that an escape was impossible but he was not ready to surrender to them  since he could imagine that they would harass him to the maximum.So he sat in front of his younger brother and requested him to cut off his head.His loving brother could not carry out that crime.So Velu Thampi drew out his dagger and killed himself.
The British could fetch his dead body only.They did not show any justice or respect  to his dead body also.His brother was also executed and  their house  was demolished to ground..He sought and Fought for independence of his mother Land bravely and embraced death.Mean while Paliath Achan, of Cochin was arrested and exiled to Madras.

There is a monument constructed  at Mannadi,  Pathanamthitta District in his remembrance which is visited by tourists far and near.His statue is existed in front of the Government Secretariat at Thiruvananthapuram.