Friday, April 06, 2018

The Curtain Falls..... Permanently

Kollam Ajith, who has acted in more than 500 Malayalam films, had just starting exploring his directorial talents when he passed away on April 5 at age 56

By Shevlin Sebastian

In May, 2013, when this reporter had gone to Kollam Ajith's house in Kakkanad, Kochi, he was all excited about his directorial debut, 'Calling Bell'.

With effusive gestures, he described the first scene: a thief, Qasim Bhai, played by Ajith, broke open a locker of a private bank, took the money and fled. But alarms were triggered and the police were able to track him down through the cyber cell. They gave chase.

Qasim ran into a building, in which there were several apartments. He checked door after door, but they were all locked. Finally, one was open and he entered and shut the door. There seemed to be nobody inside, but there was a sound of water falling in the bathroom.

Qasim tiptoed in and saw that the tap was, indeed, open, but the bathroom was empty. Suddenly, the action stopped and there was a message on the screen: 'Some people are dying because of a lack of one drop of water. Water is precious. Do not waste it.'

Throughout the film, I have placed similar messages,” said Ajith. The subjects included the wastage of electricity, the dangers of alcohol and smoking, and the evils of dowry and casteism. “This is the first time in a mainstream film that such a method has been used,” said Ajith. “Of course, there is always the danger of the audience rejecting it.”

Unfortunately, they did when the film was released.

But he was not deterred as he got ready to work on his next film 'Pakal Pole'. Ajith said that his aim was to make films in the style of his guru, the late Padmarajan, and directors, Satyan Anthikad and Kamal. “They make simple films, and yet there is a moving message,” he said.

Ajith had been deeply influenced by Padmarajan. It was when he saw one of the director's films in 1981 that he decided to join the industry. He went and met Padmarajan, who hired him as an assistant. “But after a while, Padmarajan told me that I should try my luck as an actor because I had expressive eyes,” said Ajith.

To encourage him, Padmarajan also gave Ajith a role in his film, 'Paranu, Paranu, Paranu'.
Eventually, Ajith acted in more than 500 films, mostly, as a villain. Unfortunately, death has snatched away the thespian, on April 5, of stomach-related ailments, at age 56, just as he was embarking on a new career path. 

#KollamAjith #Padmarajan #SathyanAnthikad #Kamal

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