The Lost Heroine (A Novel)


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Item Code: AZA276
Author: Vinu Abraham
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Publishing Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 9789389958409
Pages: 176
Other Details 8 x 5 inches
Weight 170 gm
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Book Description

About the Book

Growing up in a district in Kerala, spinning idle dreams as she worked in the fields; Rosy had never been to the cinema. Her only brush with fame had been to act in the local Kakkarissi plays. So when Johnson Sir, her well-to-do neighbour, asked if she would like to play the role of heroine in a movie his friend Daniel was making, Rosy could scarcely believe it.

In a matter of weeks, Rosy, a poor Dalit Christian girl of the Pulaya caste, was transformed into Sarojini-the beautiful Nair girl who lived in a grand tharavad, wore mundus and blouses of the finest silk and gold jewellery from head to toe. Sarojini, with whom the handsome Jayachandran falls in love at first sight as she sits at her window playing the veena.

Rosy's dreamworld comes to an end when the last scene is shot. A harsh reality awaits her when the film is screened at the Capitol Theatre in Trivandrum. There is shock and horror in the audience as the film rolls.

All hell breaks loose, and Rosy narrowly escapes death only to spend the rest of her life in anonymity. It is only in a forgotten roll of film that her story lives on. The story of Vighathakumaran (The Lost Child), the first film ever to be made in Malayalam, in the year 1928.

This poignant translation by C.S. Venkiteswaran and Arathy Ashok brings alive the world of early Malayalam cinema and the people who pioneered it, weaving within it a universal story of ambition, desire and the faultlines of caste and religious bigotry.

About the Author

Vinu Abraham is a well-known writer of short stories, novels, film scripts and essays in Malayalam. He has published twenty-three books, including eleven short story collections and four novels. A winner of several prestigious Malayalam literary awards, he has also won the Best Scriptwriter Award for the film Parudeesa in the Mexico International Film Festival. A native of Nedungadappally in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, he lives in Thiruvananthapuram.

C.S. Venkiteswaran is a reputed film critic and essayist writing in both Malayalam and English.

Arathy Ashok is a professor of English who engages in translations and other writings.


I HAVE ALWAYS been passionate about history in its various manifestations, including the history of cinema and literature. But I had never expected that one day I would be drawn into the exploration of a very exciting chapter in Malayalam cinema, the very origin of the film industry in Kerala in the era of silent films. Though Malayalam is my mother tongue, the idea of writing a novel based on my discoveries would have seemed an even wilder proposition to me back then.

It was on a pleasant evening during the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), at the Kairali theatre complex in Trivandrum (now Thiruvanthapuram), that it all began. A group of Dalit artists led by Baby Thomas, a writer, was holding a protest demonstration and handing out leaflets to onlookers. The upshot of the protest was that all concerned with the history of Malayalam cinema, including the state government, film industry and film historians, have never acknowledged the fact that it was P.K. Rosy, a Dalit girl from Trivandrum, who was the heroine of Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child), the first film made in Kerala in 1928 and released in 1930. Their contention was that Rosy, who faced a cruel fate on account of her acting, should be accorded proper recognition as the Mother of Malayalam Cinema. The leaflet also contained a short poem commemorating Rosy, penned by noted poet Kureepuzha Sreekumar.

This was a shocking revelation to me. Though I had a vague knowledge about Vigathakumaran and its maker, Dr J.C. Daniel, I had never come across the fact that the film's making and its release involved a unique saga, including that of Rosy. In the days that followed, this revelation continued to haunt me. I felt that something, perhaps a feature, should be written about Rosy and the making of the film. Thus, I set about making enquiries regarding it.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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