Saturday, April 09, 2011

Thakazhi Shivshankara Pillai and His Books

Many years ago, I went into a book shop near my home in Kerala and asked for Jyanpeeth award winner Thakazhi Shivshankara Pillai's novel Kayar. The shop was the sort that sells magazines and lots of educational publications like guides and even mercenary publications like "21 most expected questions" (yes there are books like these). The man went behind the shop and brought me a roll of coir made from coconut husk.Kayar, coir, is the rope made from coconut husk.

Thakazhi Shivshankara Pillai became famous for his novel Chemmeen but it was Kayar (meaning coir) which was his magnum opus. He was the sort who got inspired and wrote a book as someone possessed and finished it within a week. I read an interview in which his daughter said that she never saw her father writing. The reason was that Thakazhi - as he was popularly known (it's a small village in Alapuzha district) - wrote in the calm of the night.

Chemmeen, the novel was translated into 19 languages and made into movies in around 14 languages. Amazing. It's one of the best movies in Malayalam with music composed by S.D.Burman Salil Chudhary (I knew he was a Bong so since I like S.D.Burman, I assumed it was him. Not to worry, I like Salil-da also).

Here's the Wikipedia article. Here's a tribute by Ayyappa Paniker.


naimishika g said...

Hi Mr. John... Good to see your blog... I am new in this field having blogs..... 

John P Matthew said...

Hi Naimishika,

Thanks for coming and visiting my blog. Do keep coming!