Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 15 June 2024 4.38 PM IST

Harikumar: Rare speck of gold from 80s Malayalam cinema


The 1980s is normally dubbed as the golden age of Malayalam cinema. It was the year Harikumar made his entry into the challenging domain. The 80s were the halcyon days of filmmakers including Bharathan, Padmarajan, KG George, Mohan and I.V. Sasi and nobody had the real mettle to unseat these shining names of Malayalam film directors.

However, Harikumar proved to be a different breed of filmmaker who easily made his name etched among the stalwarts just from his debut.

Harikumar, who took a sabbatical as an engineer in the Kollam Municipal Corporation and entered the film industry, later thrived in his newfound niche. His debut as a director ‘Aambal Poovu’ portrayed the inner conflicts of a cabaret dancer. Although not a commercial success, the film was largely critically acclaimed. Harikumar directed only 18 films during his forty years of film career.

His massive love for literature also made him turn many writers' literary epics into mainstream movies. Perumbadavam Sreedharan wrote the screenplay for the first film ‘Aambal Poovu’, while his last film 'Oru Autorikshakarante Bharya' was based on the story of the famous writer M. Mukundan. Harikumar’s 1987 film ‘Jalakam’ was written by Balachandran Chullikad. However, it was ‘Sukrutham’ written by legend M. T. Vasudevan Nair that buoyed the prominence of Harikumar to a national level.

The haunting scene in the movie where an editor returns to his office to see his obituary written on the same paper he works remains unforgettable. The scene was shot at the Thiruvananthapuram office of Kerala Kaumudi. Harikumar often publically admired Sreevaraham Balakrishnan, who he attributes to instilling a sense of film culture in him.

Harikumar has twice been a member of the National Film Awards Jury. He also served as the Chairman of the K R Narayanan Film Institute and as the Chairman of MACTA. It was normal for him to take a hiatus after every movie, and he never craved attention or awards. Artistic values towered the director’s oeuvre, and this made him take ample time to carve out a movie. He was a close friend and well-wisher of Kerala Kaumudi. We pay our homage to the eminent name of Indian cinema.

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