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Malayalam Movies and Songs

P Ramdas

Died27th March, 2014
Native PlaceThiruvananthapuram
CareerDirection (3), Story (3), Dialogue (2), Screenplay (2), Lyrics (1 songs from 1 Movies), Production (1)
First MovieNewspaper Boy (1955)
Last MovieVaadaka Veettile Athidhi (Swapnam Viriyunna Raavukal) (1981)

P. Ramdas, aged 22, made Newspaper Boy in 1955 and changed the history of Malayalam cinema. This was the first neo-realist cinema in Malayalam. In an age when the films in circulation in Kerala were mainly in Tamil and Hindi, Ramdas was smitten by a new call for realism under the influence of Indian masters like V. Shantaram and Amiya Chakravarthy.

Avoiding popular cinema’s fascination with conventional notions of beauty and of aesthetic representation, in Newspaper Boy Ramdas strove to offer an un-romanticised bleakness that is so much a part of common everyday life. His cinematic style and language was completely at variance with what the audiences had learnt to appreciate in a visual culture where Tamil mythologicals and devotionals ruled the roost. Thus Ramdas and his Newspaper Boy epitomised a historic moment in Malayalam cinema that embodied the tensions between the traditional mythical modes of storytelling and a modern ethical sensibility marked by a passion to show what was ‘real’ and tell what was ‘true’.

Newspaper Boy was the modest result of the coming together of a group of youngsters, who dared to write Malayalam cinema into an innovative and bold script. All of them were students at that time and they formed Adarsh Kalamandir, an art initiative under which banner the film was produced. At that time Ramdas was a student of the University College in the city along with his friend Parameswaran.

Parameswaran and Ramdas mulled over a short story that the latter had written, titled ‘Compositor’ and published in the magazine Mahatma. They decided to make it into a film. Hours were spent poring over cinema books in the British Library and an 8 mm camera was ordered. The rest is history.

What he aspired was a movie off the beaten track. Though the film was completed the same year Ramdas was unable to find distributors. Many distributors wanted to make drastic changes in the movie to suit audience tastes, which Ramdas solidly refused. Finally the Kochi-Malabar rights were sold to RS Pictures and the Thiruvananthapuram rights to Variety Pictures. The film bombed at the box office.

Ramdas was planning to create a second version of "Newspaper Boy" when he died at a Private Hospital in Kottayam. He was awarded the J C Daniel Award in 2008.

Courtesy: Walking ahead of his time - The Hindu

Prepared by: Sunish Menon


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