A comment left by Mathew in the last post "What ails us" bought back a flood of memories. Memories of a fine actress called Sukumari,who made us laugh, cry and think with her innumerable memorable movies.
I noticed Sukumari for the first time in Boeing Boeing. She was absolutely wonderful as the Anglo Indian cook. Her “I don’t care a damn’ attitude was a treat to watch and this movie owes a lot to her presence I think.
I don’t know if she set a precedent of sort by boldly showing the different facets of the Malayalee woman, as I do not know much about the chronology of her career but she broke the monotony of character portrayal of women in Malayalam cinema. The 'characters' she portrayed were bold, self confident and assertive. The nose in the air society lady, or the bitchy neighbor or the bossy Colony President…and even as the sensible lady of the house. She was like a breath of fresh air. And she got a generation of NRK kids like us hooked to Malayalam cinema. At least in my family it did. There was a revival of interest in Malayalam cinema with the arrival of some good comedies starring her. She also evoked a lot of fan following among the women. Ladies connected with her ‘characters’ as they were easily identifiable people from daily life. She is so comfortable in front of the camera and lives and breathes the ‘character’ she portrays.
Her very presence is warm and she gives you that feel good homely feeling when you see her. Even in her interviews she comes across as a down to earth simple Malayali lady. Surely a person you can look up to especially today, when there is such a dearth of role models. And this where Sukumari has come up trumps. She has universal appeal.
During the good old days of VCDs, we used to sit down as a family and watch Malayalam movies. And no prizes for guessing whose movies were top favorite. Those were days of some good movies. There were other actors and actresses too who were very good, but Sukumari ruled the roost in my house as far as us kids were concerned.
If there were to be “Malayalee’ of the year award my vote would go to Sukumari and I will even indulge in some fowl play to make sure she gets it :p She deserves it.
She is the quintessential Malayali lady!