Malayalam film director of Perumthachan, Thoppil Ajayan passes away
The Director of the Thilakan starer Perumthachan, Ajayan (Thoppil Ajayan), who is also the son of yesteryear playwright and theatre personality, Thoppil Bhasi died at a private hospital in Thiruvanathapuram yesterday. Ajayan, the eldest son of Thoppil Bhasi, is survived by his spouse, Dr Sushama and two daughters, Parvathi and Lakshmi, will be cremated at the Tycaud electric crematorium in the city today.
There is a popular saying in Malayalam, “Nanjethinu Naanaazhi”, (You don’t require lot of poison to go fatal, while a little will do), Thoppil Ajayan proved himself that with a single movie, one can attain international acclaim, where many of the directors who churn out hundreds of commercial movies sans any creative value and still not finding a berth in the hall of fame.
Ajayan, though forayed into Malayalam film industry in 1990 by directing the internationally acclaimed cinema, Perumthachan, with that one movie, his name was added along with the legends of Malayalam film makers. Ajayan received many awards for the movie Perumthachan including Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director, the Kerala State Film Award for Best Debut Director, the Kerala State Film Award for Best Popular Film.
The following year of the release of Perumthachan, the amazing movie also got nominated for the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival. Although Ajayan’s foray into film direction was in 1991 through Perumthachan, nevertheless, he had began his film career as Assitant Director, working with the likes of his own father, Thoppil Bhasi, legendary film makers such as Padmarajan and Bharatan and more. Notable Malayalam films, were Ajayan has worked as Assitant Director includes, Panchavadi Palam, Oridathu, Ente Upasana and Sarvakalashala. What is more, Thoppil Ajayan has also made a slew of documentary films in addition to serving the Tamil film industry by working as cinematographer. After obtaining a Diploma in Film Technology from the renowned Adyar Film Institute in Chennai (officially known as MGR Government Film and Television Institute), Ajayan was working on several Tamil films before focusing in Malayalam film industry by working as Assistant Director for many popular directors of the day.
Condoling the death of Thoppil Ajayan, Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan said that with a sole film, Perumthachan, Ajayan was able to capture the love of the film goers. Perumthachan is a powerful story, and the screenplay is written by none other than the living legend of Malayalam Literature, MT Vadudevan Nair.
With apt script, Ajayan was able to identify jut the right cast for the movie by casting the late theatre personality and film actor, Thilakan. Ajayan was able to extract the full acting prowess and potential of Thilakan through the protagonist of Perumthachan and thus he created a movie replete with great visual brilliance and aesthetic values.
Thanks to his association with world class film makers such as Padmarajan and Bharathan, as a contemporary, Ajayan was not only able to grasp the nuances that these directors were good at and incorporate the same into his solo film, but also Ajayan proved his metal as an excellent documentary film maker, Pinarayi Vijayan added. Also, when the IFFK got concluded in Thiruvananthapuram, the film fraternity observed a minute’s silence on the memory of the depart film maker Thoppil Ajayan.
Ajayan also made a music video based on yesteryear poet of Malayalam Literature, Kumaran Asan’s legendry verse, Chandala Bikshuki rendered by the vocalist Manjari and acted by Tom George Kolath and Jyothirmayi. Born on April 8, 1950 as the eldest son of Thoppil Bhasi at Vallikunnam in Alapuzha district, Ajayan was also known as an excellent playwright, a legacy he had inherited from his father, late Thoppil Bhasi, who wrote several plays during the peak of Communist Movement in Kerala, in addition to writing scripts for the Malayalam movies.
Ajayan also brought out a book of Perumthachan by name The Master Carpenter (English meaning of Perumthachan), in the afterword, MT Vasudevan Nair wrote that initially, Ajayan had met the author for a screenplay Manikkakallu, while the project did not take off, Ajayan had tossed another crucial project, Perumthachan. MT Vasudevan Nair, this time, readily accepted the offer and wrote the screenplay for Ajayan’s story, Perumthachan in his inimitable style, which when made into a film, the screenplay stood out. The folklore story revolve around Thilakan, while other actors like the late Monisha Unni, Prashant, Nedumudi Venu, Vinaya Prasad and Babu Namboodiri portrayed their best in Perumthachan, the drama penned by MT Vasudevan Nair.
Although, Ajayan has directed only one film in Perumthachan in 1990, as Assistant Director, his films include Panjavadi Palam and Ente Upasana in 1984, two years later, Oridathu and in 1987 he assisted Venu Nagavally in the making of Sarvakalasala. Thoppil Ajayan’s films as Chief Associate Director includes Oridatoru Phailvaan, the classic film by Padmarajan and Nedumudi Venu in the lead, which was released in 1981 and in the following year, Novemberinte Nashtam. As Associate Director, Ajayan had worked on movies such as Rathinirvedham 1978, Koodevide in 1983 and Kariyilakattu Pole in 1986. Ajayan will always be remembered for assisting in all these all time popular movies and also for his sole film, Perumthachan. Ajayan carved a niche for himself, thus relieving himself from the shadow of his renowned playwright father, thus creating his own space in the annals of Malayalam Cinema. Farewell Ajayan, the master story teller.