PALAKKAD: What is in a name, after all. But here it means much. Why did you choose the name Che Guevara over Fidel Castro for your son? “It is simple,” says film journalist Das Mattumantha, who resides on the outskirts of Palakkad. “Both are always role models for me. But while Che Guevara died, Fidel Castro continued to rule Cuba. Therefore, I preferred Che Guevara who will continue to live through my son, while the news of Castro is always live in the media.”
He nostalgically reminisces: “I happened to read the Bolivian Diary when I was in the seventh standard and was attracted towards the ideals of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. My father M A Shyamalan hailed from a hardcore CPM family. When I got married, I named my only son Shyam Che Guevara Das, who is now pursuing his Plus-One at the PMG School.”
“We did a play on ‘Che Guevara’ by acclaimed playwright Marrio Fratti. The character of Che Guevara in his childhood was enacted by my son, Shyam Che Guevara Das and I play the character of the friend of the revolutionary,” says Das.
Adds the director of the play K A Nandajan, “There was only a reference to Fidel Castro in the play. The play which was well-received revolved around the Bolivian Diary and was also staged at the CPM party plenum in Palakkad.”
Whether it is Moscow Mukku in Vandazhi village or Vietnam Padi near Pattambi or the Plus-One student of the PMG School, they were all products of the agrarian struggles and the bond the rustic folks shared with the revolutionaries.