Award-Winning Film Celluloid Kicks Up Row

Award-Winning Film Celluloid Kicks Up Row

Celluloid, the Malayalam film directed by Kamal based on the life of J C Daniel, the father of Malayalam cinema, has kicked up a controversy with the film appearing to suggest that late Chief Minister K Karunakaran had shied away from giving recognition to Daniel.

But Karunakaran's son and Congress leader K Muraleedharan said it was quite unfortunate that his father's name was dragged into controversy to 'gain publicity' for the film.

The film also indicates that late litterateur Malayattoor Ramakrishnan was also not keen on recognising Daniel as the pioneer of Malayalam cinema when he was Culture Secretary.

He said "even if thousand Kamals tried, the late leader's image cannot be maligned." Muraleedharan's sister Padmaja, who also echoed similar views, said Karunakaran had always encouraged art and artistes.

Responding to criticism, the film's director Kamal said he had not deliberately tried to defame either Karunakaran or Ramakrishnan in the film, which was based on a biograpahy of Daniel written by film journalist Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan.

Gopalakrishnan, in his book J C Danielinte Jeevitha Katha had clearly mentioned the name of Karunakaran who, he said, had tried to recognise the 1938 Malayalam talkie 'Balan' directed by S Nottani as the first film in the language.

His biography of Daniel also criticises 'Malayattoor' Ramakrishnan for turning a blind eye to the pioneering effort of Daniel.

Daniel's silent movie Vigathakumaran was released in the Capitol theatre here in 1928.

Kamal said he had not mentioned the names in the film as he had great respect for Ramakrishnan and Karunakaran. "However, certain historical facts had to be included in the film," the director said.

When the question was put to Cinema Minister K B Ganesh Kumar at the time of the announcement of state film awards, he said, "it is just a film, and film has to have a villain."

Celluloid won seven state film awards for the year 2012 including the one for best film.

However, with Muraleedharan's statement, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala also said the hints in the film pointing towards Karunakaran could have been avoided.

Youth Congress workers staged demonstrations in front of a few theatres today where the film is being screened.

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