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Malayalam Movies and Songs


Original NameNambiathusseril Varkey John
Born14th October, 1927
Died17th July, 2014
Native PlaceAlappuzha
CareerDirection (129), Story (18), Screenplay (9), Cast (7), Dialogue (1)
First MovieOraal Koodi Kallanaayi (1964)
Last MoviePaadaatha Veenayum Paadum (1990)

Sasikumar had displayed a flair for acting in dramas even when he was a boy of 10. He completed his school education from Leo Thirteenth High school, Alleppey and St.Ephrem's School, Mannanam. During his college life he had represented Kerala University foot ball team. He passed out as a graduate in Economics from Sacred Hearts College, Thevara.

During his studies in the schools and colleges, he had proved his flair for acting in dramas especially of the Shakespearean genre. Later on, Kunchacko of Udaya Studios, Alleppey, identified his talent and gave him a role to act in his film, Visappinte Vili in which he acted as villain against the Evergreen Hero, Prem Nazir. This happened to be the first film in Malayalam in which a villain fights with the hero without a dupe and that role was performed with aplomb by Sasikumar. Subsequently, in addition to acting in several films produced by Udaya Studios he worked as the Assistant director of Kunchacko in those films. It was Kunchacko who identified that Sasikumar had in his repertoire the necessary talent and skills required for a director of movies.

Later on, he joined Merryland Studios owned by the veteran director-producer P. Subramaniam. It was under his tutelage that Sasikumar was transformed into a great director. While in Merryland he worked with many renowned actors of that time namely T. K. Balachandran, Prem Nazir, Thikkurissi Sukumaran Nair etc. He worked as associate director to P. Subramaniam in addition to acting on and off. Sasikumar still considers P.Subramanyam as a fatherly icon who had showered upon him fatherly affection and regards during his tenure at Merryland. The first independent film directed by Sasikumar was a documentary for Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT) regarding the use and effectiveness of fertilizers in agriculture.

As per the advice of his bosom friend Prem Nazir, Sasikumar arrived at Chennai in the 1960s. He directed Thommante Makkal and Porter Kunjali for Thomas Pictures in 1965. He also directed along with P. A. Thomas the movie Kudumbini (1964) for Thomas Pictures, which received a Certificate of Merit at the annual National Film Awards. Subsequently, he directed an art film, namely Kavalam Chundan which flopped enormously and pain of this flop was unbearable for him. So he decided to stop film direction and return to Kerala to join the oil mill business of his father. It was his dear friend Prem Nazir who encouraged him and prompted him to stay back in Chennai. With his association and succour, he directed a commercial film Jeevitha Yaathra and it became a super hit. From his own experience he understood that with the money shelled out by the producers he would never direct any art film like Kavalam Chundan. From the change of track from art to commercial he never looked back. Subsequently, he directed a surfeit of films, most of which succeeded in box office. He was fondly called as Hitmaker by the Malayalam film fraternity. Whatever he touched was transformed into instant gold. He along with his friend Prem Nazir were instrumental in saving many broken producers who had lost their land and ornaments through movie production. Sasikumar is the director who made maximum number of hit films in Malayalam. 106 films which he directed had Prem Nazir as hero (which is a world record) and in 1977, he directed 15 films which all fared well in the Box office (world record ). Sathyan, Prem Nazir, Adoor Bhasi, S. P. Pillai, Madhu, Jose Prakash, Sheela, Sharada, Vidhubala, Lakshmi, Sreelatha, Jayabharathi, Unni Mary, Kamal Hassan, Sukumaran, Soman,Ravikumar,Jayan, Vincent, Sobhana, Shankar, Mammootty, Mohanlal, all acted in his films. Kaviyoor Ponnamma who had acted in the role of a mother in his old movie, Thommante Makkal which had a story in the Christian background acted in the same movie, remade in a Hindu back ground namely Swanthamevide Banthamevide in the same mother's role after 25 years. It was Sasikumar who introduced a new sophisticated villain to the Malayalam film world in the form of "Silver head" enacted by Jose Prakash in one of his old films. During his long career in films he has directed hitherto more than 140 films in Malayalam and one film in Tamil.

Sasikumar's films were not meant for active analysis by the intelligentsia or the critics, but for the common man especially the working class who sought some solace and relief from the hard and harsh realities of everyday life. His films occupied a special niche in this regard by providing wholesome entertainment to the masses. The themes of these films generally dealt with the problems of the common man and the injustice prevalent in the society.

He had introduced Ravindran, Malayalam films music composer, through his film Choola. Renowned Malayalam music director M. K. Arjunan became popular after scoring music for Sasikumar's movie, Rest House. His films had music composed by other famous music composers like Devarajan, A. T. Ummer, Salil Chowdhury, Shyam, M. S. Viswanathan etc. His lyricists were Vayalar Rama Varma, Sreekumaran Thampy, O. N. V. Kurup, P. Bhaskaran, K.Jayakumar to name a few. Sreekumaran Thampy was the lyricist in most of his films. All the songs in his film Devadasi of which the music was scored by Salil Chowdhury became great hits even though the film was not released on account of some problems with its producer, Adoor Manikantan.Senthil,the famous comedian in Tamil films was introduced to the silver screen by director Sasikumar through his Malayalam movie viz. "Ithikkara Pakki". Crossbelt Mani, Baby, P. G. Viswambharan, Thampi Kannanthanam, and Asokan who were his Assistants became successful independent directors later on. Some of the artists whom he had actively promoted and supported during his heydays have now become national icons and awardees. If cinema is considered a medium of entertainment Sasikumar has been an immense success. He created movies as per the zeitgeist. He gave the people of those times what they wanted and what they expected of him. And they wanted to see his movies again and again.

Prepared by: Sunish Menon


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