Celluloid (2013) Movie Script

My name is J C Daniel.
l'd written a letter to Mr Phalke
and l got a reply from him.
Can l meet Mr Phalke?
Please come in.
Yes? l am Phalke.
lt's a great
privilege to meet you, sir,
the pioneer of lndian cinema.
Please be seated.
Come, sit.
- Thank you, sir.
l am J C Daniel. l've
come from Travancore,
the southern part of lndia
How can l help you?
Sir, l want to make a motion picture.
How much do you know
about motion pictures?
Not much, sir, but for
the past two years...
l've only been dreaming of cinema.
l've gone through books, articles...
l really want to know
more about this art, sir.
lt's not easy.
l understand, sir.
But can you help me?
Sorry, Mr Daniel, right now
l'm busy with my shooting.
You can contact
me some other time.
Sir, if it's not too much trouble,
can l watch your shooting now?
Usually, we do not allow
anybody to enter the shooting place.
But you've come a long way.
Thank you, sir.
This is film.
The white man calls it 'celluloid.'
Rememberthe day you took me
to 'Capitol' to see the movie...?
l asked you how the people moved?
That's the technique of movies.
When the Lumiere Brothers first
screened their cinema in Paris...
people ran for their lives,
thinking the moving train was real.
Janet, cinema is a wonder.
That's what we're going to make.
Somehow, l don't feel confident.
Have you really studied it?
Yeah, l have been studying it.
Thirty years have passed
since films were shot in...
- Europe and America.
Fifteen years back,
Dundiraj Govind Phalke
made a movie in Bombay.
ln Madras, Nataraj Muthaliyar and
others have made films in Tamil.
To this day, no one in Travancore
and Cochin has been able to do it.
That is what this J C
Daniel is going to make.
You wait and see.
Your J C Daniel will become
Malayalam's first film maker.
May God help you.
But then, won't you
need lots of cash?
Have to buy a camera and other
equipment, hire actors and crew.
Will require about a lakh.
Then you can just lie on
your back looking at the sky...
and hope angels rain you with cash.
l'm going to sell our property
at Neyyattinkara and ...
Didn't you sell part of it
for your timber business?
Mother won't allow it again.
lt's Papa's share of
ancestral property.
Your brothers also will not allow.
Whoever agrees or
disagrees... l have already decided.
Won't you agree?
This is my great dream.
lt's when we dream a lot
that one of them comes true.
l am willing to
sacrifice my life for you, Lord.
No, Peter.
l am telling the truth to
you and to your friends.
Surely, this night before
the rooster crows, ...
- you will deny me thrice.
No, Lord, l will never deny you.
lf l have to die with you,
l will not deny you.
lt's a play for the church feast,
'The Life of Christ.'
lt's a long time
since l saw you, Daniel.
l was on tour.
This is Sundara Rajan, my relative,
Dr Mathias' nephew.
Owns three four shops in the Chala.
l am Johnson. Have we met before?
Your face looks familiar.
You had a play at Chala last April.
Didn't you keep
your props in my shop?
l had told you then that you
excelled as John the Baptist.
That's it. Now l remember.
So, Daniel, how are things?
Hurry with your rehearsal.
l have a certain matter with you.
My God, make a film!
Only Englishmen know it.
ls it a job meant for us?
Why can't we?
l've come from Bombay and Madras
after seeing and understanding it.
lt is not like staging a play.
lt uses camera
and other equipments.
What do you say about it?
l too had doubts when
l first heard about it.
But then Daniel convinced
me that if the Hindi people
and Tamil people can
do it, why not us?
We can, Johnson.
Both of you should be with me.
Think it through. lt's
an expensive affair.
Not like staging the 'Life of Christ.'
Once l decide,
there's no going back.
You know how l am.
What Papa got as his share,
and what's in Janet's
name will exceed 100 acres...
- of palm groves,
homesteads and fields.
lf it's 1000 British
'Chakras' for an acre,
l will get a minimum of one lakh.
As soon as the cash comes in,
l will start, my dear Johnson...
Travancore's first motion picture.
Someone has come to
see you from Travancore.
Don't know. But he's been
waiting for quite a while.
Tell him there's no role right now.
lt's not that. lt's about
some production matters.
What production-criduction?
Hello sir.
Where did you get that Krishna?
Hello sir.
Hey director, who is Krishnan,
who is Kuchelan?
The person acting God
must have the looks.
He greets me even as he acts.
How can the film be good?
Take one more.
- Ok.
What shall l tell that person?
Ask him to come.
- Ok.
Good morning sir.
Do you know Tamil?
Then speak in Tamil.
l had come here a few days back,
but couldn't meet you, sir.
Come to the subject.
l am coming from Travancore.
l have hopes about cinema.
l want to make a movie.
What should l do? What
equipment should l buy?
What will be the budget?
l have come in orderto
know all about it from you.
Do you have the money? You
will have to spend a lot.
Yes sir. l have enough money.
Cinema is not vegetable business.
lt is for those who know about it.
l know a little.
Perumal, take this
person to the manager.
Tell him to give the
information he needs.
ls it okay?
- Thank you sir.
Sir, can l also talk to your
cinematographer Mr. William Derek?
When you talk about an Engishman,
you can't talk in Tamil?
You can talk to him
during the lunch break.
Come on, have some.
Thank you.
Here and in Bombay
we use Debri cameras.
ln Hollywood...
they have introduced
- an advanced
version of this Debri...
but it is not available here.
So, where can l get a camera from?
You can get it directly from London,
or you may go to Calcutta.
There is my colleague Mr Samuel
John who has a photography shop.
He can help you get the camera
and the accessories as well.
l have a request.
Could you wield the
camera for my film?
Oh sorry.
l am going back to London
after finishing this film.
Mr Samuel John will help you
find some other cinematographer.
All right. Thank you, sir.
ls it true that you are going
to make a movie, Daniel sir?.
True. lsn't it why l
became your disciple?
l just know how to run this film,
but l have no idea about the
technique behind making one.
When are you starting?
The camera and the
film have all been booked.
Will start as soon as they arrive.
Make a movie like this, Daniel sir.
Fed up with the Raman
andHanuman movies ...
- from Bombay and Madras
True... No mythology.
l must make my own story...
a social drama like this.
When l went to Bombay,
l saw this movie at
the Coronation theatre
l saw it here on the
release day as well.
Can't see enough of it, right?
Yes... Yes.
His name is Charlie Chaplin.
ln America, he draws more
crowds than the President.
He has such a fan-base.
- Really?
This is the machine
used to make movies.
What's in this box?
Don't open it now. That is film.
When we make the movie we
load it into the camera.
Haven't you seen photos
being taken? lt's just like that.
When do we start?
A lot of things need to be
done before that, Sundara.
First, l need to make a screen story.
lt's written in the
book called 'Photo Play.'
lt's called scenario.
The people from Bombay and
Madras mainly make mythologies.
We don't want that. First l thought...
it should be about the history of
our martial art form 'chilambattom.'
Malabar's 'kalarippayattu'
is well-known even in England.
lsn't our
'chilambattom' quite as good?
Yet who otherthan the folks of
South Travancore know about it?
lf we make a movie on it
we can show it to all.
But now l think we don't want that.
We'll make a social drama.
Didn't you see Charlie
Chaplin's 'The Kid' the other day?
Like that.
Yeah, that will be great, Daniel.
What a fine movie!
We'll make one like it.
lsn't it a white man's story?
People here won't like that.
Can't we take a story from our Bible?
Can't we take the 'Life of Christ'?
That's also a story from the
white man's land, Johnson.
We'll choose a story from
our land... a social story.
We also need a studio like
Phalke's and Muthaliar's.
lf we buy one, a lot of
cash will go that way.
Can we rent one?
l know about a
vacant building in Pattom.
The drama company from
Madras that performed during...
...the last Konjiravela
festival rented that building:
We will try that.
So, like in plays, won't
you need actors in this.
So, l can act, can't l?
Notjust you, but l also will.
Our son Sundaram also.
You have a look.
What's this?
Our son is standing upside down.
lt must be in this. Let me see.
Don't we need a name
forthe movie, Daniel?
Sure, we do.
lsn't our story about
a child getting lost?
Shall we name it 'The Lost Child'?
What do you say about it?
An English name? When we
Malayalis make a movie...
it should be a Malayalam name.
What if we call it 'Vigathakumaran'?
'Vigathakumaran'? What's that?
Does it have any meaning?
Yeah, 'The Lost Child.'
Really? So it means l
don't know Malayalam as well.
Our boy Sundaram himself will
be the lost child, won't he?
He won't stay put in one place,
Daniel, then how can he?
Any child will be a
little mischievous.
So our son will be
enough for the role.
He will grow up into Chandrakumar,
Who will do that role?
Daniel will be doing that.
l am doing Jayachandran's
role... Chandrakumar's friend.
ls Johnson doing
Chandrakumar's role?
No, we will have to look for
someone else to play the part.
He is Bhoothanathan, the
villain who kidnaps the child.
That's fine for me.
l've played Judas before.
l'm happy playing the villain.
What about the heroine, Sarojini?
Must find a good actress.
Won't Janet act?
Act? Not me. People
will kill me in the end.
That's the problem. Here,
which girl would you get...
- to act in plays, let alone movies?
That's true.
You won't get girls
from good families.
lt's loose women
who act, people say.
Phalke even went to
brothels looking for women to act...
- in 'Raja Harischandra.'
But they chased him away.
Finally, a man did the female role.
We can't do that. We need
a woman to play Sarojini.
What will we do about that?
Things have changed in Bombay.
When l visited Phalke's studio,
l saw a woman acting.
What if we advertise
in the newspapers there?
l met a Nathuram in Bombay.
He told me he arranges
actors and actresses.
l have his address.
l will write to him.
l must bring an
actress from somewhere.
Ms Lana is a very good actress.
Ms Lana is a very good actress.
She has done three pictures in
Hindi,two pictures in Madras.
ln herfirst picture she did Draupadi,
afterthat Damayanti, Shakuntala...
and in Dada Phalke's new
picture she plays Urmila.
Come, sir.
Her mother is Anglo-lndian,
father Parsi...he passed away.
- Hello.
Hadn't l told you before?
A film-maker from Malabar.
Please come in.
Lana, darling, please come here.
Coming, Ma.
This is my daughter Lana.
This man is a film
producer from Travancore.
He is on the lookout for a heroine...
...to act in the first film of
his state which he is making.
He wants you to act in it.
What is my role?
Sarojini, that's the
name of the character.
ls she a princess or goddess?
No, no, she's a Malayali Nair lady.
What? Nair lady?
Yes, an ordinary Nair lady.
Ordinary lady? l will act
as a princess or goddess.
This is not a mythological
story like Ramayana ,,,
- or Mahabharata.
This is a social drama.
What? Social drama?
l am sorry. l am not interested.
l will explain to them.
Madam, please come inside.
They are playing hard to get.
The Mother is a greedy person.
She will come if you pay well.
They have agreed.
But you have to pay them
100 British rupees per day.
100 British rupees?
lt's too much. l
really can't afford it.
Then she won't come.
What shall l do? l
can't afford so much.
Can we get some
other actress here?
lt is very difficult, sir.
There are only three or
four like her in Bombay.
But they are all of a higher grade.
Ask if they will settle for 50 bucks.
l will give 500 bucks
in advance for ten days.
l will try.
Nathuramji, one minute.
You too please come.
They have agreed for 500.
But it will take eight days from
here to Thiruvanantapuram ..
- and back.
They need extra money for that.
Then to and fro first class
tickets for three persons.
First class?
Jesus! Won't it be a big amount?
Ask them to travel third class.
The expense to buy first
class tickets is very high.
He can't afford it.
So we won't come.
He is making a
picture forthe first time.
So what can we do?
We won't come.
They refuse to budge.
People like the royal family...
...and the East lndia Company
officials travel first class.
Even Mahatma Gandhi
travels third class.
What did he say?
Even Gandhiji travels third class.
So what? He is not a film actor.
My daughter is an
actress, understand?
l will give you second class ticket.
No, if you want me
to act in your film...
...you must get us
first class tickets.
l doubted if you got my telegram.
Got it day before yesterday.
Are they Hindi folks, or English?
They speak both. Ma'am, please...
Sorry, l am an actress. l
cannot travel by a horse cart.
What do you mean?
ln Bombay we usually
travel in a motor car, you know?
Motor car?.
Yes, motor car.
But Ms Lana, l don't
have a motor car.
Then you arrange one.
Jesus Christ! Motor cars
are very rare in Travancore.
Then l am sorry. We are leaving.
Are you joking?
l am notjoking, Mr Daniel.
lf you don't arrange for a motor car,
we will go back in the next train.
You heard that?
- Yeah.
The next train to
Bombay is only on Monday.
They will have to stay at
the railway station till then.
lt's the height of arrogance.
Paid through my nose to bring them.
Three first class tickets in addition.
Now they are asking for a motor car.
Where can we get a carfrom?
l have seen it only at the
palace and with the Diwan.
There may be three or four others
in the whole of Thiruvananthapuram.
You see, it is very
difficult to get a motor car here.
Please try to understand.
Sorry, Mr Daniel. Now
you are insulting me.
lf this is your film-making,
you will suffer a lot.
What will we do? lt's
hard to get another actress.
Your uncle, Dr Mathaeus,
has a car, doesn't he?
But only Uncle travels in it.
Don't know if he will
allow these lot to get in it.
lt is the veranda of a Nair house,
right Thankappan Anna?
Why? Doesn't it look like that?
l have done it exactly as Daniel
Sir instructed me before he left.
Must finish it by evening.
Shooting starts when
Daniel comes tomorrow.
Didn't the telegram say that the
train will arrive this morning?
Now it is past noon, yet
there is no sign of Daniel.
This is the dresses l bought for
the heroine to wear in the movie.
You must take measurements and
stitch as soon as she comes.
Those who come from Bombay
won't have our rowka and mundu.
Pachu Anna, did you buy lunch
for the cameraman and his crew?
Selvarajan took them to Velappa
Anna's tea-shop to buy them lunch.
What happened?
Was the train late?
lt wasn't the train that
was late. Waited three hours...
at the railway station till
Sundaran brought the motor car.
What for?
Our heroine is the
Maharani of Bombay!
Daniel, why do they
continue to sit in the car?.
Theirface looks like they
have been stung by a hornet.
What happened?
Please get down.
What's happening here?
This is my studio. You
will be staying here.
Janet, have you arranged
the room upstairs forthem?
Yes. Johnson has brought cot
and mattress for that room.
Mr Daniel, very sorry,
we cannot stay here.
- She is an actress.
How can we stay in a studio?
Tell them to go see the room.
lt has all the facilities.
You please come and see the room.
No, we will not stay here.
But what is wrong here?
We saw a beautiful
palace on the way.
We would like to stay there.
The palace?
lt looks amazing.
Get us a room there.
That's the Kowdiar
Palace they are talking of.
On the way they
asked me what it was.
So that's the story.
The princess wants the
Maharaja's palace itself to sleep.
lt doesn't look it's
going to go smooth, Daniel
Ms Lana, that is the
Maharaja's Palace.
We can't even go in there.
Find us some other palace.
We have heard that there are
so many palaces in Travancore.
ln Bombay, the mother and
daughter stays in a shabby building.
And they come here and
want to stay in a palace.
Johnson, what should we do?
l am itching to give
them one on theirfaces.
l also feel the same.
But if they go, where will
we get another actress from?
Such impossible women!
Besides it doesn't seem like
she will be good as Sarojini.
Hey, Mr Daniel. What is this?
We have been
waiting for a long time.
They waited three hours
for the motor car to come...
when it would have
taken just half an hour...
..in a horse-carriage to reach here.
This will become
a headache, Daniel.
Send them off.
That will be the best thing, Daniel.
We will get a girl from
our native place itself.
Let me look for one.
That is the Rosamma
l told you about.
Will Christians act
on the dalits' stage?
They are dalits who
converted to Christianity.
This girl's father is the cook
of the white missionary priest...
- of L M S Church.
lt is Fr Xavier of that
church who told me about her...
- that the cook's daughter is
acting in a kakkarashi play.
Go and have a look.
She looks smart, isn't she, Sundara?
She performs quite well.
Our Sarojini is a
Nair character,isn't she?
Will this dalit girl be suitable?
Do we have to look at the
caste and creed of an actress?
Once she is cast in a
role she must look like it.
Johnson, please talk to them.
ln the last two shows,
Rosamma forgot her
steps three, four times.
But today...
thank God, she was perfect
throughout, wasn't she, Paulose?
Didn't Asan tell me to pray
each time l get on the stage?
Now, since our God is Jesus,
can l pray to the Dalit god?
l make the sign of the
cross as l get on the stage.
So from fear of erring l err.
Today l boldly
prayed to the Dalit god...
...and also made the
sign of the cross.
All gods are the same, my child.
What is important is
the strength of our mind.
Who obeys if l say 'Don't go for
acting,don't go for acting.'?
Shouldn't there be obedience?
Look at the time she gets up.
Can't step out
because of the gossip.
And a fatherto dance to hertune!
Mala came to know why
you weren't going for work.
lf this is how it is going to be,
it will affect our livelihood.
Paulose, you know this Johnson?
He's in the drama field.
You must have seen him
when he came to act...
- in your white sahib's church.
He acts as St John the
Baptist,Judas and all.
ls that so? Please come.
No cookery today?
No. The white
sahib's gone to Kochi.
Him and his friend saw
the kakkarishi play yesterday.
His friend is making a movie.
They need a girl to act in that.
They came to me to ask you
if you will let her do it.
My lord! Cilima?
lt's something we have
neither heard or seen.
We have no peace of
mind since she started ..
- acting in kakkarishi plays.
lt's Asan who made the girl
who used to go for work regularly...
to sing and dance.
Now if she acts in the cinema,
won't the people pourfire...
-...over our heads?
Folks will only continue
to say what they say now.
Acting in cinema is not like acting
in kakkarishi plays.
She will get fame and glory.
They will give plenty of money too.
That's right.
The Rosamma then won't
be like the Rosamma now.
Rosamma is a lucky girl.
Paulose, you can live
honourably and wealthily.
Still, Asan, a girl among us, acting...
What has Ayyankali said?
This earth is not just forthe Nairs
and the Nampoothiris.
lt's also our own.
What does it mean?
lt means that we also have
the right to live as we please.
Let me ask her opinion.
Rosamma, did you
hear what we said?
l did.
What is in your mind?
l don't know.
Girl, do you want to go?
Have you seen this cinema picture?
l have seen the cinema-house.
There people see movies...
paying three chakras to sit in
the ground and seven to sit in chairs.
They play the stories of Gods
The white people's movies
are also sometimes shown.
Why don't we ask my father
and go see a movie?
Will they allow members of
our caste inside?
But you are going to act in a movie.
They might let you in.
How do they shoot these movies?
l pondered over it yesterday night.
lt might be just like acting
in kakkarishi plays, won't it?
They say crowds gather to see
the people who act in movies.
Would l also have to wait to see you
just as people wait...
...by the roadside...
to see the Maharani?
lt's your luck, Rosamma.Only you
have that chance from among us.
They are making a movie in this
Malayalam land for the first time.
And this Rosamma is its actress.
lsn't it said that a cinema actress
has to be very good-looking...
Malu, am l that beautiful?
''l never knew this...''
''sweet colorful cuckoo...''
''Do l have the
beauty of the moon?''
''Do l have the beauty of the lotus?''
''Do l have the
beauty of the rainbow?''
''Do l have the beauty of
the graceful rain?''
''Have l put on earrings?
Have l put on the bindi?''
''l never knew this...''
''sweet colorful cuckoo...''
''The kavalam bird tells in my ear''
''don't you need a wee
mascarain your eyes?''
''Hums the wind
who brings flowery...
- fragrances in his cupped hands...''
''Don't you need black bangles?''
''Hard to say why...''
''Hard to Know why...''
''l never knew this...''
''sweet colorful cuckoo...''
''Do l have the
beauty of the moon?''
''Do l have the beauty of the lotus?''
''The dazzling
white tenderjasmines talk of...''
''...theirturn to girdle your hair.''
''Says too the blooming elangi''
''...let me scent your body
with sweet perfumes!''
''Hard to say why...
Hard to know why...''
''You stand with no word...
even as you know...''
''these are just delusions...''
''Do l have the
beauty of the moon?''
''Do l have the beauty of the lotus?''
''Do l have the
beauty of the rainbow?''
''Do l have the beauty
of the graceful rain?''
''Have l put on earrings?''
''l never knew this...''
''sweet colorful cuckoo...''
Here's where they shoot the movie.
Didn't l tell you about Daniel?
He is the one who is making this movie
and spending all the money...
which means he is the producer,
director and everything.
You didn't get it, did you my child?
ln other words,
he is the overlord of this movie...
The cinema was invented
by the white man.
Get down.
Wait here. l will tell Daniel.
Pillai, what are you doing?
l am trying to figure out
how l am going to hold my face...
before the camera.lt's not the
accustomed performance.
This is not kathakali, Pillai.
Just hold yourface straight.
Rosamma has come.
Come in.
There is no cast divide
and untouchability in cinema.
Mr Daniel, the film is loaded.
We are ready.
All right, Mr Lala.
This is our actress Rosamma.
This is the cameraman.
This is the camera.
The movie is shot with this.
Did you understand?
You didn't understand anything,
Rosamma, did you?
Everyone here is like Rosamma,
isn't it, Pillai?
How is she?
A black girl?Will she be
suitable for your character?
Does she look like
an upper caste girl?
Well, at least in cinema...
...we should not be thinking
of caste and color.
l will join you shortly, Mr Lala.
Rosamma, please sit down.
Don't fear, do sit down.
This is my wife, Janet.
Sit down.
Please sit down, Rosamma.
Rosamma has acted as Parvathy
in the kakkarashi play, right?
You don't act from start to end
in cinema, unlike in plays.
Certain parts will be taken
from time to time.
You must act as l tell you.
ls that so?
Daniel, that's what
l can't understand,
no matter how many
times you tell me.
How will the expressions
come to my face...
if l act without continuity,
disregarding beginning and end?
Even if Pillai doesn't understand,
Rosamma does, right, Rosamma?
One or two scenes each day,
so, your portions
will be shot in 10 or 12 days.
You will be paid wages of Rs5 daily.
lf you act well and Daniel likes it...
you will be given a hike.
Rosamma, you are a Nair girl
in this story: Sarojini.
Sarojini has a brother.
They are children
when the movie begins.
A man named Bhoothanathan, ...
a plantation supervisor in Colombo...
...happens to see her brother playing
in her courtyard one day.
He must have been barely
five years old then.
The fiendish
Bhoothanathan kidnaps
- the child and takes
him to Colombo.
Our Johnson is playing Bhoothanathan.
ln Colombo, Bhoothanathan puts
the child through severe hardship...
forcing him to work
in the plantations.
Many years pass by.
Sarojini is now a young woman.
That's where your
part begin, Rosamma.
A young man, Vishwamohan Thampi,
is courting Sarojini.
That part is enacted by Pillai.
lt is then that
a person called Jayachandran...
comes to live in the neighborhood.
Jayachandran and Sarojini see
each otherfrequently.
They fall in love.
lt is Daniel
who will act as Jayachandran.
lt is then that
Jayachandran has to go...
- to England for professional matters
He goes to England via Colombo...
where he is looted
by Bhoothanathan and his gang.
Unable to proceed,
and forced to stay in Colombo...
he gets acquainted
with Chandrakumar...
as he was looking for a job.
Chandrakumar is a young man now.
One day, having escaped from
the hands of Bhoothanathan...
- Chandrakumar and
Jayachandran return home.
Bhoothanathan comes
searching for them.
They fight with each
other on the way.
Jayachandran reaches
Sarojini's neighborhood.
Sarojini sees Chandrakumar.
Accidentally, seeing the black mole
on Chandrakumar's back...
Sarojini recognizes him
as her long-lost brother.
Jayachandran marries Sarojini.
Everyone lives happily ever after.
Rosamma, did you like the story?
We will start taking
Rosamma's parts today itself.
First, you will have
to change your costume.
The mundu and rowka
you are wearing now is...
...not appropriate for Sarojini.
l will give you the costumes.
Here's the mundu
and jumper.Don't know
- if the measurement is right.
Pachu Annan here, who is our tailor,
stitched them based on speculation.
Do you know how to
wear it, Rosamma?
lsn't it in the style of
upper caste ladies?
l have seen it.
Wear it on your neck and ears.
These are my ornaments.
How can you wear the
ornaments after l wearthem?
Aren't we of a lower caste?
lt doesn't matter.
These are not worn by Rosamma,
but by Sarojini,
who belongs to a rich Nair family.
Next change your hair style and add
a little bit of color on your face...
and you will be Sarojini herself.
What do you say, BhaskarAnna?
- Sure.
So hurry up.
- Sit here, child.
Sit down, Rosamma.
l will stand here.
Sit here, child.
Now, Rosamma
has become Sarojini.
So, shall we start?
This is Sarojini's house...
see, the front side...
Rosamma should come now,
from inside, with a lit lamp...
and keep it here in the veranda.
Then, Jayachandran,
that is myself, will come...
Rosamma should then look at me,
wondering who l could be?
Did you understand, Rosamma?
l have a doubt.
The lamp is usually lit in the evening.
Now, it's only noon.
Night and day appears
the same in a movie Pillai.
Cinema can be shot only in sunlight.
Yea... yea
So, shall we start, Mr Lala?
- Yes, please.
Come, Rosamma.
Let us start.
Go and stand near the door.
You have to come from there.
Selvarajan, give
that lamp to Rosamma.
When l get on the
kakkarashi stage...
Asan would ask me
to pray to the Dalit God.
But l always involuntarily make
the sign of the cross...
...and pray to Christ.
lsn't this a movie?
And wasn't the movie first
invented by Christians?
So isn't it enough
if l made the sign of the cross?
you pray whichever way you want.
What is the matter?
She asked me permission to pray.
Shall we start, Rosamma?
When l say, 'Action,'
you should come from there.
When l say what? Action.
Have you understood? Then move.
Have you finished praying?
lf so, take the lamp
and stand nearthe door.
What is that thing?
Have you understood
everything else?
ln cinema, there are lots of things
that are hard to understand.
Yea yea...
How was it, Mr Lala?
- Fine.
Rosamma, you acted well.
Where is Rosamma?
Didn't you call herfor lunch?
Let me look for her.
Bhaskara Anna,
where is Rosamma?
She is over there.
Are you sitting here?
Come inside and eat.
l will sit here.
Are you having just rice gruel?
There is rice inside.
Gruel is enough for me.
Rosamma, what are you doing?
Don't do that.
Your dress will get dirty.
Get up.
You are not the old Rosamma.
You are the heroine of our movie.
Rosamma, from now on, till the
end of the movie, you are not
Rosamma nor are you
of lower caste.
You are a Nair girl.
Don't forget that.
What do you say, Janet?
Rosamma is now one among us.
lsn't it why we have
named her Rosamma now?
What if we modify
Rosamma's name?
Sunder Rajan's brother-in-law's
wife's name is Rosy, isn't it?
So, why don't we turn
Rosamma into Rosy?
lt is good to call
and good to hear:Rosy.
What do you say, Rosamma?
What is your opinion, Johnson?
Very good, Rosamma has
become totally fashionable.
So shall we start?
As Sarojini stands
in front of her house,
Vishwamohan Thampi...
comes that way.
He is a person who
is trying to court her.
Sarojini doesn't like him.
When Vishwamohan
comes behind you,
Rosamma you should show anger.
lt is Rosy now, not Rosamma.
Yeah, Rosy.
Seeing this,
Jayachandran comes that way.
Vishwamohan does not like...
Jayachandran's arrival.
A quarrel ensues
between the two.Understood?
This is the scene that
we are going to take now.
Our Pillai is Vishwamohan.
Where is Pillai?
He was standing somewhere
around here, clueless.
What are you
doing there,Pillai, come.
Pillai, are you ready to act?
- Yea
Like l told you, Pillai,
when you see Sarojini, you must smile at
her showing sringara rasa.
Acting sringara to
women is a little tough.
l am used to doing feminine
roles in kathakali.
lf it is the sringara of
women it is a whole lot easier.
But here, it is not a female role.
Vishwamohan is a man, isn't he?
Yea yea... l know
So the sringara expression
of man has to come, isn't it?
When should the sringara come?
When the camera starts,
l will say action. Then.
You will say that thing, won't you?
You should look at Sarojini,
...then move up to
her and talk to her.
l should talk to her.
What should l talk to her?
She looks very beautiful,you wish
to have a relationship with her...
something like that...
when we see a movie,
we won't hear any dialogues.
lt is not like the drama.
Cinema does not have sound.
Yet we must act as
though we are talking.
lt is said that, in America,
they have invented talking cinema.
But it has not reached our land.
One doubt. lf we cannot hear
the dialogues why do we speak?
lsn't it enough that
l show mudras as in kathakali?
Pillai, have you come to
act or to play the kathakali?
l'll act, but when
we do unaccustomed
...things, won't we have doubts?
So, should l show love
after l reach there,
or should l start from here?
After you reach there.
- Right.
Rosy, your acting was good.
Everyone liked it.
Sundaran is giving wages.
Go, get it.
Rosy, don't stand
at the back. Come.
See Mr Daniel, it is perfect.
The girl looks good.
This girl came and
called me when l was in
- the Chala market selling fish.
Said there was some 'cilima'
shooting taking place...
...and asked me to come along.
When l heard money
was being given,
l came without bothering
about anything else.
So? See now, how a fisherwoman
became a Nair woman!
See how pretty you
look in your attire.
Aren't you a fisherwoman yourself?.
And see what you are wearing.
My husband is dead.
But isn't your husband
out fishing in the sea?
lf he comes to know about this,
he will chop you to
pieces like he chops fish.
ls this a job meant
for women like us?
lsn't it loose women who do this?
Have you come here after
getting the permission
of your father and mother?.
- Yes.
Are you acting as my daughter?.
- Yes.
And you?
-As her friend.
Johnson, does that old hag
- and that girl know anything?
They look odd.
What can we do?
Had to search the whole
land to get these two.
lf they don't fit, change the story.
Make Sarojini's mother a fisherwoman.
Rosy, come.
You also come.
Have you seen the veena before?
Sarojini is playing the
veena in the veranda of the house.
Your mother and friend is
sitting nearby listening to it.
Now Jayachandran comes.
That is the scene
we are going to take now.
Come, Rosy.
Don't spit there, old woman.
You sit here.
You sit on the floor.
Show Rosamma how to hold it
We had one lower
caste woman first,
now we have two more.
Did you only get
these people to act in...
...a story about upper caste people?
Aren't l of the upper caste?
My blood is boiling.
Look here, Pillai...
ln Cinema, we can also
change an upper
caste person into a
lower caste person.
Just like we can change
a lower caste person...
...into an upper caste person
Pillai, go and sit
in a corner. Ready?
Look in the other direction
Play the veena.
What is it, old woman
Do l know how to play the veena?
Daniel Sir said it was
enough if l pretend to play it.
Finally l managed to do something.
How lucky you are!You can at
least act like a highborn lady.
True. l was allowed to wear
the brocaded mundu and rowka...
and the ornaments
of Daniel Sir's wife.
Will we get a chance
to wear these in our lifetime?
But Daniel sir utters some
strange thing now and then:
Then we are supposed
to act all of a sudden.
That's the problem.
When will it be screened?
That l don't know.
After my portion is over,
the shooting will be in Colombo.
Afterthat, it will be shown in the cinema
near the Huzur Kachery.
ls there the converted dalit inside?
Seeing that your girl hadn't
come to cut grass in...
Thampi boss' household,
we enquired.
lt is then that we came to know
she is acting in a 'cinema'.
You have become arrogant
after conversion,
...having escaped
untouchability and caste.
And what's more you
have set her loose...
...to act in dramas and flirt about.
You are my tenant, Kolappan.
Don't forget that.
My name is not Kolappan now.
l am Paulose now.
Does this land belong
to the East lndia Company
that the Christian may do
anything he likes? No!
This land belongs to the Maharaja.
Tell her that if she flirts about
in the name of drama and cinema...
and come to work in my house,
l will chop off her
hands and legs like grass.
Move the vehicle.
The shooting at Sarada
Vilasom will be over...
...when Rosy's portions are over.
Then l will have to go to Colombo.
All the crew,
equipments, traveling on the ship...
...l will need a lot of money.
Do you have to go to Colombo?
Can't we shoot it here?
lsn't the boy kidnapped
to Colombo in the story?
So it has to be shot there.
How do we come
up with the money?
We will sell off our
palmgroves and homestead...
- at Agastheeshwaram.
Then, l have told some
rich folks in Thiruvananthapuram.
lf the Travancore National
Pictures is made a limited company...
l can ask them to take shares.
How will we get
back what we invest?
Folks will come to watch the film.
Will so many people come?
lt will be shown not just in Capitol,
but in the cinemas in Nagercoil...
Alleppey, Thrissur and so on.
lt will also be shown in the cinemas
of Madras, Madurai and so forth.
Janet, didn't Phalke
become rich making films?
And Nataraja Muthaliyar in Madras?
Wait and watch, it will be
this J. C Daniel here in Travancore.
Jayachandran comes with
Chandrakumarto Sarojini's house.
Sarojini meets Chandrakumar.
She accidentally sees the black
mole on Chandrakumar's back...
and realizes that he
is her long lost brother.
The shooting at Sarada
Vilasom is over.
Rosy's parts have been shot.
Daniel has asked me to give
you three days' extra wages.
Rosy acted fabulously.
All of us liked it very much.
We will inform you when the
movie is screened at 'Capitol.'
You must come.
This is the mundu and jumper
that you wore in the movie.
lt is yours now.
You may go now, Rosie.
Convey our regards
to your father and Asan.
Akashvani...the news
is read by Ramachandran.
The National Film Awards
for this year have been announced.
The President's Gold Medal
forthe best film has been won...
by a Malayalam move
for the first time.
The award is for Thakazhi's Chemmeen,
directed by Ramu Kariat.
The film in which famous actors
like Sathyan, Madhu,Kottarakkara...
and Sheela acted has been
produced by Babu of Kanmani Films.
The film 'Neelakkuyil'
directed by Ramu Karyat
and P Bhaskaran had
won the silver medal
Anna, do you know that old man?
He is an old film maker.
He produced some film a long
while back, and became a pauper.
Sold away all his ancestral property.
He now lives somewhere in
Tamil Nadu.
He comes to this shop whenever
he visits Thiruvananthapuram.
When my father is here he
comes here and tells old stories.
Which movie did he make?
Some movie of yesteryears.
Some silent movie.
What is his name?
Some Nadar...one Daniel.
J C Daniel.
What are you searching?
Aren't you having lunch?
You carry on...
l remember.
This film was released at
the Capitol cinema of those days.
lt was screened only
three or four times.
l saw it one ortwo
days following the release.
Aftertwo orthree reels...
...some landlords sprang
up from their seats...
...and started shouting and booing.
They destroyed furniture...
...and hurled slippers
and stones on to the screen.
The projection had to be stopped.
l remember seeing the scared
Daniel in the projection room.
l have seen him
only on that occasion.
The screening of that
film ended that day in
- Thiruvananthapuram.
Vigathakumaran is the
first film in Malayalam.
The man who made it lives
somewhere in this land.
ls it right that
we don't know about it?
How does it become
the first Malayalam movie?
lsn't T R Sundaram's Balan
the first Malayalam movie?
That was the first sound movie.
lt was released in1938.
J C Daniel made this
movie ten years before that.
How can a silent movie
be called a Malayalam movie?
lt has no language.
lf so, how can you call
Charlie Chaplin's film English.
lsn't that a silent movie too?
Before Balan there
was another film too:
C V Raman Pillai's Marthandavarma.
lt was produced by
one Sunder Rajan of Chala.
He too has become a pauper.
Boss, shot is ready.
Please go, Chelangadan.
Which movie is this?
- Kattumallika
Do you know where this
Daniel is at present?
Ready. We can see once.
Come, get down.
Get in.
Do you know where
J C Daniel lives?
He made a film long ago.
Don't know.
Do you know a J C Daniel?
Yea, he is the dentist.
We don't know that he made a film.
lt has been thirty years
since he first came here.
He was a good dentist.
Not now, but a long time back.
See. He took all my teeth.
Where is his house?
Go straight from
here for about a mile.
There is a Christian church nearby.
His house is in the next street.
ls there someone here? Daniel sir?.
ls there someone here?
Who are you?
Daniel sir?
ls there nobody in the house?
lt is locked.
He is inside.
Daniel sir.
He is recuperating
after an eye operation.
Daniel sir...
This is me, Chellakannu.
The door is locked from the outside.
There is somebody here to see you.
Ask who it is.
Daniel Sir,
l am Chelangad Gopala Krishnan.
l am coming from Cherthala.
What do you want?
l want to see you.
l am bedridden following
an eye operation.
She has gone to Nagercoil
to get me medicines.
l can't see because of my ailment.
That is why she locked the door.
What do you want?
l will wait. Let your wife come.
She has to go for everything.
lt will be dusk when she returns.
Never mind. l will wait.
He was in such an esteemed position.
Now everything has gone.
This is his brother's house.
Their family is in Madras.
They have given half of this house...
...for Daniel sir
and his wife to stay.
His children?
Two boys, three girls.
One is in abroad, another in Salem...
then Madurai,Thiruvananthapuram...
all live in different places.
No one comes here to visit them.
The youngest boy sometimes
sends him money orders from Salem.
That is how they manage to live on.
You didn't say who you are?
l am a journalist.
l write about film personalities.
l am not a film personality.
You were, long time ago, weren't you?
l have come to talk about it.
l do not remember anything.
lt happened long time ago.
What good is it to
rememberthat now?
3rd May 1966.
l saw J C Daniel today.
After a long day's
wait in a dark room...
in an old dilapidated house
in Agastheeshwaram in Tamil Nadu.
The pioneer of Malayalam cinema
lay paralyzed with sightless eyes.
Daniel, Daniel... Are you sleeping?
Have you come?
A man has come to see you.
He has been waiting
outside a long time.
Didn't l say
l don't want to see anyone...
...and no one need see me?
Daniel did not relent
to seeing me at first.
lt was as though
he had no interest...
to reminisce about the past,
and his memories.
No one had come looking
for me all this while.
Why, now?
Shouldn't the world know
that such a person is living here?
No. Who is J. C Daniel
forthe world to know about?
Janet, give him tea
and ask him to leave.
He is like this nowadays.
He is angry with everything,
and everyone
Please leave now and
come back some othertime.
Weren't you with him,
when he made the movie madam?
Can you tell me some of
the things that you remember?
Wasn't the picture completed then?
And it was screened
at Capitol cinema hall too.
What, then happened
to Vigathakumaran?
Even though she was reluctant
first,she talked to me later.
Even though
shooting started in 1928,
it was only on 23 October 1930...
after two years, that Vigathakumaran
- was screened at Capitol cinema.
Advocate Mulloor will come
to inaugurate the first show.
Then invitations have
been sent out to the Palace...
...and to other dignitaries here.
We must advertise in newspapers.
Only then will people know.
Yes. Notices are also being printed.
Ponnappan will do the announcements.
You should announce
even in small by-lanes.
Only then will we get a crowd.
You don't have to tell me that.
That is my job.
Daniel, we got the
notice printed.
So shall we start?
- Yes.
Travancore's first motion picture,
produced by J C Daniel...
Vigathakumaran...two shows daily...
at 6.30 in the evening
and at 9.30 every night.
lts start from tomorrow
at the Capitol near
the Huzur Katchery...
The first film made in Travancore.
The Lost Child...
Starring J C Daniel,Mullakkal
Johnson and our very own...
P K Rosy...
Come and see
did you hear the announcement?
lt will be screened tomorrow.
Daniel Sir has asked me to tell you.
You should come to Capitol
tomorrow forthe inauguration.
The show is at 6.30 in the evening.
Please tell your father also.
You should come.
Travancore's first motion picture,
produced by J C Daniel...
The Lost Child...
All are welcome.
Starts with the
inauguration at 6.30...
Chair: 7 chakras
Floor: 3 chakras
Daniel Sir, please go there.
l will handle this.
Moorthy Anna,please take this...
for my happiness...
What's this?
Please get in.
Sundara, where is Janet and son?
- They are inside.
Please be seated.
What is this?
Putting the chairs at the back.
Don't you know Mr Thambi?
Do dignitaries have
to sit at the back?
Put all those chairs in front.
Don't you know dignitaries
sit in the back to watch movies?
All right.
Why are you late, Rosamma?
Father was late to come from work.
Get in, child.
When will it start?
- lt's time.
Hey, what is this? lnauspicious!
Do we see the cinema-show
seated with such untouchables?
Stand aside!
Can we consider such
things in the cinema-hall?
Be it the cinema-hall
or any other goddamned place...
the upper caste is upper caste...
...and the lower caste
remains lower caste.
Do you doubt it?
Mulloor, let us go.
Let him show it to the dalits
and all the lower caste.
lt is bad to insult us
this way after inviting us.
Sir, please don't go.lt is you
who has to inaugurate the show.
lt's not for them alone...
l also believe in caste
dividend untouchability.
Sir, please don't go...
Sorry Mr. Daniel.
Rosamma, please stand aside now.
Let them enter.
Rosy, you can see the next show.
They have come on our invitation.
Sir, please come.
Don't worry,
we can see the next show.
We can be proud that
the wonder of this century...
the motion picture,
has been produced in our land also.
Congratulating Mr Daniel,
who endeavored to ...
make this venture...
a grand success,
l declare the first exhibition
of this movie inaugurated.
Think the show is going to start.
My dear compatriots, the first
motion picture of Malayalam land...
Vigathakumaran... The Lost Child...
will begin in a few minutes
on this silver screen...
This is not a story from
the Mahabharata, ...
northe Ramayana...
This is a social story.
Those who have acted
in this story are...
J C Daniel
Mullakkal Johnson,
child artist Sundaram Daniel.
Damodaran Pillai and P K Rosy.
You have seen the child,
kidnapped by Bhoodhanathan,
has grown up.
Moorthy Anna, how are things?
Now the heroine of
the movie is entering...
Now the hero of the story,
Jayachandran enters...
Now you are seeing
the scene in which...
...Jayachandran introduces himself...
to his neighbors.
Jayachandran falls in love
with the beautiful Sarojini...
Stop! Stop!
This show must not continue.
lt's not enough that
a dalit girl has acted...
...but she has acted as a Nair girl.
What is this?
We will not allow this.
Stop. l say stop.
Enough... enough.
Stop it.
Stop this filthy show.
Let's go.
There's the whore!
This vile girl insulted
us all by acting in this movie.
What should we do Mallur?
Don't let her go.
Thus the first show of
Daniel's movie was spoiled.
Malayalam's first movie...
became a victim of bad customs
and the caste system.
They branded Malayalam's
first heroine as a whore...
...and chased her
off from the cinema.
Rosy fled for her life that night...
not having the good
fortune to ever see...
...her face on the silver screen.
Rosy became the tragic
heroine of Malayalam Cinema.
The landlord Thambi and other
caste-blind lords and dignitaries...
...hunted Rosy continually...
...isolating herself
and family from social life.
Having somehow escaped
from the attack of the landlords...
Rosy fled under
cover of darkness...
Rosy fled under
cover of darkness...
What happened to her since,
is unknown.
Yet anotherjourney
to Agastheeshwaram...
This journey became necessary
because J C Daniel wrote a letter...
expressing his desire
to see me personally.
Daniel is inside.
When you came that day,
l felt like talking to you that way...
l feel a sense of aversion
towards everything...
How are your eyes?
Can see vaguely.
Still there is a blur.
Do sit down.
She read out to me the
article in the magazine you sent...
When l realized that there was
somebody to remind me of...
those days...
and come looking for me,l felt
bad about the way l treated you.
That's why l wrote
asking to see you.
l would have come regardless.
Madam told me only up to
the point where the first screening...
of Vigathakumaran was marred.
l need to know the
rest of your story as well
We read about Sathyan
in that magazine.
He also belongs to our community...
l have met him once or twice,
before he came into movie,
when he was in
the police department.
He had asked me about
Vigathakumaran then.
When 'Neelakkuyil' was playing...
l told Daniel that
we should go see it
in Thiruvananthapuram.
He did not agree.
There are many
movies playing now,isn't it?
Yes, Chemmeen has been
running for more than 100 days...
and it has been winning awards.
l have heard my children
speak about Sheela,
who acted as the heroine in it.
The old days are over now.
Now irrespective of whether
one is Nair or a Christian...
there are a lot of
actresses in cinema.
Do you know where the heroine
of your movie, Rosy is now?
Caste fanatics chased
the poor girl off.
She did not even have the luck
to see herself act on the screen.
l heard a rumor that as
she fled from the landlords...
she fell in front of a
goods truck heading to Nagercoil...
...and was saved by the driver,
a certain Kesava Pillai.
Johnson told me
that she married him...
...and lives there under
the name of Rajammal.
That was many years back.
Now it is not known
if she is dead or alive...
What happened to
Vigathakumaran after that?
Why didn't you make
a film after that?
Janet, give him something to drink.
- Not now, please.
Then let us walk to thejunction.
So, the show at
Capitol was stopped.
Then it was screened...
for one ortwo days each
at Kattookkaran's
cinema in Thrissur...
then Alleppey and Thalashery.
Not many people came.
There were also problems there...
the same kind of problems
as in Thiruvananthapuram.
The film had to be canned.
The studio had to be closed
because of financial problems.
Sold the house at
Agastheeshwaram and came here.
''O wind, O wind, have you come
to the non-blooming tree with ahum?
'' Have the sweet plantains
been filled with nectar?''
''Has the non-visible
tree borne flower and fruit?''
'' Has the sweltering
Meenam heat been...
- breezed by your cooling feathers?''
lsolated from Mother and siblings,
Janet and l began a new life...
in that small house
at Agastheshwaram...
'' Yesterday it faded away,
today a dream came with me...''
'' From burnt and
charred branches...''
'' ...red tender shoots
have raised their heads...''
'' Waving your infant-tender hands,
run to me, golden dawn...''
'' Rock the pearly floral
cradle to pet and fondle...''
'' Can you voice honeyed
words in my ear?''
'' O wind, O wind...''
' O wind, O wind, have you come
to the non-blooming tree with ahum?
'' Have the sweet plantains
been filled with nectar?''
'' The storm-clouds
in the sky has gone...''
'' ...the silver moonbeam
chariots have come.''
'' The rice-fields are in full bloom,
the sad night storm has passed...''
'' Little flowers,
like buds, await the eye to bloom...''
l had the desire to learn dentistry.
Went to Madras to learn dentistry...
Became a dental surgeon...
Ran dental clinics
in Pudukotai and Madurai...
Life improved once again...
Janet gave birth
to two more children.
So happy times with
Janet and five children...
One minute...
l had received news about you.
Been meaning to come
see you for a long time.
Daniel, you could have
written to me once in a while.
l was running away from everything.
l forgot you too amidst all that...
Doesn't matter. You are doing fine.
At least you have a 'Dr'
in front of you like your father:
DrJ C Daniel.
Come. Sit.
The patients...
- lt doesn't matter.
What are you doing now?
Stopped acting in dramas long ago.
l am into coconut business now.
Going on.
Did you hear about Sunder Rajan?
Heard that he made a movie...
Yea. When you left cinema,
he became obsessed with it.
He made C. V. Raman Pillai's novel,
Marthanda Varma into a movie.
He sold his ancestral property,
just like you.
Heard he also got some
help from the Palace.
The director was a certain P V Rao,
from Madras...
On the day of release,
the publishers sued Sundera Rajan...
for copyright violation.
Mulloor was their advocate.
The court confiscated the film.
Afterthat Sundera Rajan's
condition became worse...
...than that of you, Daniel.
He is struggling
with all his debts now.
Janet, how are you?
Fine. How are Mariamma and kids?
They are OK.
Where are the elder ones?
Went to school. He is
the youngest:Harris.
l will bring coffee.
A sound movie has
released in Malayalam.
lt is called Balan.
Vanakkam, Doctor Sir.
Do you know who that is?
Famous actor, P. U Chinnappa
Yes, l know him very well.
He was acting in a play
in his village last night.
He started having a terrible
toothache right afterthe show.
Open your mouth, sir.
Two teeth have gone bad.
That is the reason for the pain
What should be done now?
Must take out both the teeth.
Oh! lt will hurt.
lf we don't remove them,
the pain won't stop.
All right, get it done with.
Open your mouth.
Have you taken them out?
Not yet.
The pain has subsided.
lt is as though l have got back life.
l am a famous actor
in both drama and cinema.
Have you seen my latest film?
Have you seen my latest film?
- No.
l am a super-hero in it,
who holds a sword...
...in one hand and cuts down ...
hundreds of opponents.
But this super-hero
had to admit defeat...
...while facing this
small toothache, sir.
lndeed, you are
a very skilled doctor.
He is notjust a doctor, boss.
He is a film maker who has
made the first movie in Malayalam.
ls that so? Vanakkam, boss.
Let me touch your
feet and pay obeisance.
Oh, it's nothing.
l just made a movie out of desire then.
l stopped all that now.
Why did you stop?
Can't you make a movie,
while continuing your practice?
No, it won't be right again.
Why? Why won't it be all right?
Your mind is still in movies,
isn't it?
lt is not like that.
lf you say it is not like that,
it means, it is.
lsn't it? lt is.
lf you have art in your mind,
it refuses to go away.
lf you have desire, take...
Come to Madras.
Take a Tamil film. l will act.
A great star of those
days like P U Chinnappan.
l fell for his flattery.
The zeal for cinema in my
subconscious mind came out again.
Janet warned me against
it several times.
l did not heed her.
l went to Madras with everything
l had earned till then.
To see Chinnappa...
To make a Tamil film.
But when l reached Madras...
Chinnappa's attitude changed.
He and his followers
really cheated me.
Life became wayward
when l joined their company.
All the money l had
brought was spent.
l became totally crestfallen.
l did not come home
for about two years.
l did not contact
Janet and my children.
l never considered how they lived.
With this,
Daniel ceased to be Daniel.
l came to detest cinema.
Even though l returned
to Agastheeshwaram...
and started the clinic,
life didn't flourish.
Patients ceased to come
when my hands started shivering...
while extracting teeth.
Thus J C Daniel ceased
to be a dentist...
...as he ceased to be a film-maker.
Meanwhile, l did not give proper...
...care of my children
who were growing up.
So it is not fairto
expect anything from them.
They went their separate ways.
Only she stayed with me,
sharing love...
...hatred, sorrow and starvation.
l read in a newspaper
the other day...
D W Griffith, the master film-maker
of silent movies wandered about...
the streets of Hollywood,
like an unwanted beggar,
in his last days.
lf that is so,
like l tell her it is little wonder...
...that a nobody like
J C Daniel is steeped in poverty.
Balan is the first movie for
the historians of Malayalam cinema.
They do not know you.
They do not know
Vigathakumaran either.
Shall l make an attempt?
Shouldn't the world know that
there was such a film before Balan?
Where is Vigathakumaran's
reels now?
What is the value of the film reels
of a movie which nobody wants?
lt has all been destroyed.
This is all
l have of Vigathakumaran.
What you say may be true.
He may even have made this movie.
l have also heard
of Mathanda Varma.
But... in government records,
Balan is the first Malayalam movie.
We can recognize a film
as belonging to a language...
only if it is a talkies.
What are you saying l must do...
- because someone has made
half a movie or a piece of it?
You must add the name of
- Vigathakumaran...
in government records.
The world must know that
this is Malayalam's first movie.
Sir, you must take the initiative
to tell the Chief Minister...
and put the records straight.
lt is difficult.
He doesn't have the print
of the movie, does he?
Who will believe you
if you show this photo and notice...
and say there was such a movie?
Sir, he is still alive.
So what?
The camera and
print of the film made by...
Lumiere Brothers are
still carefully kept.
People still see that film.
Phalke's Raja Harischandra is
also in the the Pune Film Archives.
Ask him to bring me such proof.
Then we will see.
Sir, why are you talking
with such lack of interest?
lsn't it a film made by a Malayali?
Why are you so interested
in this film made by a Nadar?
Sir, l have now understood
what your interests are...
Balan happens to be a film
made by a Brahmin, T R Sundaram.
l didn't figure you were
thinking on the lines of caste.
What did Daniel say?
lt is the same condition there...
Do not cry.
We had lived like kings.
The only thing that we did
wrong was that we made cinema.
Father, now weeps at
the slightest provocation.
He started a ration shop
when the film flopped...
...and there was no other way.
Father looked
after it till he became ill.
Now l have taken over.
C K Soman here says that
the old film trunk is in...
- ...the godown of
Kamalalayam Book Depot.
We will go there and see.
Father has no rights to that now.
lt belongs to them.
When the book depot shut down...
my father kept the film
trunk in the store of this lodge.
from time to time,
saying that the print should...
...be sent to Madras for cleaning.
Father sent it for cleaning
once ortwice, at his expense.
Now, no one looks after it.
Soman had written to P K Nair of
the Poona Film Archives...
lf you put a price and sell it,
the Archives would buy it.
lsn't that better than
it being destroyed here?
This is history.
Only time will prove its worth.
The print is
in the Poona Film Archives.
But for a slight damage to
one ortwo reels, the rest is OK...
Like me, Sundera Rajan also made
that movie suffering much hardship.
At least his suffering
has not been in vain.
Vigathakumaran did not have that luck,
isn't it, Daniel Sir?
Never mind.
l don't have any complaints.
lt's my own fault.
l never thought it should
be preserved carefully.
ls Vayalar Ramavarma in?
Yes...in 101 ...he's writing...
l know. l have told
him l would be coming...
Come in.
Hi, Chelangadan!
What's the latest cinema news?
Will tell you.
Are you in the writing mood?
Never mind. Lyrics
will come, anyway.
Chelangadan will make
his visits in between.
lt isn't a new occurrence now, is it?
Didn't l tell you about J C Daniel?
Yes, the neglected
father of Malayalam cinema.
That is the bad fortune of an artist.
l will also come with
you if l get the time.
l would also like to see him.
He had a stroke meanwhile.
Now he is bedridden.
This is the letter sent by his wife.
Please read this.
Dear Mr Gopalakrishnan...
l got the copy of the book
The History of Cinema. l am glad.
l read it out to my husband,
who is blind now.
He is now in a critical condition.
He cannot do things by himself.
We are living in extreme poverty.
We are hoping that you
will help us... in some way.
Praying to God with tears.
What can we do?
l met both that
reactionary secretary and...
...the Chief Minister
to talk about...Vigathakumaran.
But they drove me out.
They talked as if l had something
to gain out of this.
He is a great man of letters...
...and a lover of art.
But he is not humane.
He could have easily
helped if he had wanted to.
That Cultural Secretary
is your close friend, isn't he?
lf you call him, l will go
once again and lick his boots.
He is good for everything else.
But he has the dirty outlook
of the upper classes sometimes.
Yes, l am Vayalar... need an urgent
trunk call to Thiruvananthapuram...
Number 2134.
That's a song in Sethu's new film,
Achanum Bappayum...
Devarajan is waiting
with the harmonium...
Have to go to Madras today.
Have a look.
''Man created creeds.''
''Creeds created Gods.''
''Man and creeds and Gods
together shared the land...''
'' shared the mind...''
Why don't you say something, sir?
You made Rama Varma call me
because you felt l would yield?
What else can l do?
You didn't listen to me
when l told you that day.
l agree with what you say.
He is bedridden following a stroke...
He is suffering
hardships and poverty.
But on what grounds can the Kerala
Government give him pension?
How can we give him financial aid?
lsn't he a Tamilian living
in Tamil Nadu, in Agastheeswaram.
Tell him to apply to
the Tamil Nadu Government...
He was born and brought
up at the Travancore of yore.
Didn't Kerala extend upto
Kanyakumari in those days?
He studied and made the
movie in Thiruvanthapuram.
Didn't he make the
movie in Malayalam?
Why should the Tamil Nadu
Government give him pension...
for making a picture in Malayalam?
You come with a print of the movie...
just like you found a print
of Mathanda Varma.
Then we will see.
Sir, l have already
told you it doesn't exist.
Then what can l do?
Even if l send it to
the Chief Minister's office...
it will be returned unsigned.
Sir, are you making lame excuses
in order to deny him his due?
Get out!
We will recognize
him after he is dead.
lsn't that our usual practice?
As you lie in this condition,none
of our children is here, Daniel...
lt's not that they don't have love.
They don't have the time
Don't worry.
Even if no one is here,
aren't l by your side?
Do you see, Janet?
lsn't it the Capitol hall?
Do you see what is being
written on the screen?
Can you see Janet?
J C Daniel suffered the same fate
shared by many talented geniuses.
His is the same old
story of being ignored...
...and rejected in his lifetime.
lt is with the hope that his work
will be recognized one day
that l went on with my
mission even after his death.
ln the end,
it is with the formation
of the Kerala State
Film Development Corporation
that the Kerala Government
recognized J C Daniel
as the father of
Malayalam cinema,
and Vigathakumaran as
the first film in Malayalam.
Even when hundreds of
films were produced each year
and Malayalam cinema
was recognized by the world...
winning several national
and international awards...
we failed to realize that
the father of Malayalam cinema...
and its first heroine lived
somewhere among us in anonymity.
On this occasion,
when the documentary directed by
Sri R Gopalakrishnan
is to be screened,
l would like to introduce you...
to a special individual,
who has come on the invitation
of Sri Gopalakrishnan...
- the youngest son of J C
Daniel,Sri Harris Daniel.
l invite Harris Daniel to talk to us.
When you applaud
me in the name of my Papa
l do not know what to say.
l am J C Daniel's youngest son.
l hadn't been born when
Papa made Vigathakumaran.
l only rememberthe J C
Daniel who brooded in a corner...
having lost everything,
aftertrying to make a film in Madras,
- and after giving up dentistry.
l don't know why, but l always
preferred to stay aloof from Papa.
l have never tried
to understand Papa.
As Chelangad Sir said, had a piece
of the film Papa made remained...
he would have been
recognized in his own lifetime.
lf that had been so,
l too would have known...
...his greatness while he lived.
ln my childhood, l failed to recognize
the greatness of that movie...
That is why it has
happened this way.
The ignorance of a six-year-old.
The person responsible for the
non-existence of a single piece...
- of that movie is not
Papa... not anyone else...
l am responsible for it.
lt was l who burnt those reels.
l did not know then that the childhood
mischief of a six-year-old...
- would turn out to be
such a cruel entertainment.
lt may have been the aversion
Papa felt towards the world...
- and towards cinema
that made him gaze
- at my mischief like a bystander.
l apologize to Papa...
- and to Malayalam cinema...
for my childhood mischief.