KOCHI: She was known as the ‘dukhaputri’ (the sorrowful daughter) of Malayalam cinema. She enacted many roles reflecting the pathos and the struggles of the underprivileged Kerala women five decades ago. Though the Malayalam filmdom has undergone a transition, the movie goers admire her contributions to Malayalam cinema. Sharada, the Telugu girl who brought the national award to Kerala twice through Thulabharam (1968) and Swayamvaram (1973) was in the city to attend the Women Empowerment meet organised by the Women Cell of the CMFRI on Monday. She had only one message to the women, “There is no need for empowerment. The women have to realise their power and utilise it to advance in society,” she said.
Talking to Express, Sharada took a stroll down memory lane sharing her experience as an actor, social activist and politician. Actors like you received many memorable women characters. But now-a-days such women-centric characters are not seen in Malayalam cinema.Malayalam cinema has undergone a lot of change. The movie trend has also changed. The stories of that period were influenced by the social reformation movement and the freedom struggle. But now there has been a social transformation. Today’s men and women do not need special privileges. Movie-makers also believe that film goers will not accept such characters. Also, there is no dearth of talent in Malayalam cinema.
Why did you leave politics?
I have decided to keep away from politics for a while. Once you get involved in politics it is very difficult to get out of it. You have to travel around and meet people, try to understand their problems and solve them. There are good people and bad people. If we work with dedication we can bring a change.
Did you have any bad experience in politics?
There are so many. It is difficult to point out one. I was TDP MP from Tenali and constituency in charge of the party. Once a 19-year-old boy tried to rape a 37-year-old housewife. The husband came to me crying. I told him you are a man you have to go and console your wife and give her the confidence to live. The police asked me what should be done. I asked them to initiate action against the boy so that it will be a warning to such youngsters.
The parents of the accused questioned me saying it was an unintentional mistake by their son. I asked why they are trivialising the issue. If you support him today it will encourage him to commit more mistakes in future. It is not his mistake, it is your fault. You failed to inculcate good qualities in your son. They threatened that I will be taught a lesson in the next election. I said I am not concerned about votes. I want to help the needy.
You are currently active in social service activities. Can you explain the initiatives you are involved in?
I want to support the needy. I don’t want to use the term help. I am planning to launch a big project and will reveal the details at the right time.You have been keeping away from Mollywood for a while. When can we expect you in Malayalam films?
I will be back soon. There is a project and the discussions are in progress. I will reveal it at the right time.
Among the roles you played in Malayalam which one do you love the most?
There are many characters. Ammukutty of Iruttinte Atmavu and Vijaya of Thulabharam have won much appreciation. But I love Rahel of Inapravukal the most.