Dragonflies of time

Jayakrishnan’s shrewdness and Clara’s charm turn 33 years old. For every Malayali, Thoovanathumbikal is an evergreen memory. TNIE in conversation with  its beloved producer P Stanley

Published: 05th August 2020 04:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th August 2020 04:56 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Once a very busy film producer, P Stanley now leads a rather peaceful life. At his residence in Nalanchira, Thiruvananthapuram, he spends his time writing novels. Stanley is a very popular name among Malayalis as the producer of the cult Malayalam movie Thoovanathumbikal. On a break from movies for three decades, he was again in the social media limelight recently. As Thoovanathumbikal completes 33 years, an audio clip sent to Stalnley by actor Mohan Lal caught the attention of its many fans.

Stanley’s autobiography Ormakulude Vellithira was released on Sunday. One chapter from the book talks about the movie. Mohanlal, in the audio clip, thanked Stanley for ‘Mannarathodi Jayakrishnan’, Lal’s character in the movie, and expressed his desire to meet the veteran producer soon. Stanley seems equally excited about meeting Mohanlal after 33 years. “The last time we met was during the premiere of Thoovanathumbikal. Lal is always jovial and keeps people around him happy. Be it in Mannarathodi or at his residence in Mudavanmugal, he’s the same,” Stanley quips. 

“Lal used to enquire about me to his friends and always wanted to get in touch. But that never worked because nobody knew how to reach me,” says Stanley. However, the message from Mohanlal also gave him a new idea. “I’m going to start writing the second part of my autobiography soon. This is a book for Lal. I want to tell him what I have been up to while I was away from the industry,” he adds.

After completing journalism, Stanley joined cinematographer A Vincent in 1965. He worked with legendary writers like M T Vasudevan Nair, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, Thoppil Bhasi and Kakkanadan, to name a few. According to Stanley, the death of director P Padmarajan caused him to drift away from the celluloid world. “It happened when we were planning a new movie, and that created a void in me. I couldn’t think of creating a movie with a different cast or director.

And by the time I prepared to come back, it was too late, and the equations of Malayalam cinema had changed a lot. My wife was ill, and that just made the gap longer. She died in 2006. Even I had a few health issues. So, my decision to stay away had many reasons,” says Stanley. He has been actively writing since 2006 and published eight novels till date. Mochanam, Varadakshina, and Rajan Paranja Kadha are some of the other movies he produced.

However, Stanley feels it was a wise decision to stay away from production. “Technology and culture in the industry have changed. Anyone with a mobile camera is a cinematographer these days,” he quips. “We used to chase writers like M T Vasudevan Nair or Thoppil Bhasi for a script. I’m a stranger to the new generation’s way of doing things. But then, there are some revolutionary new-generation movies like Trance, which I really enjoyed watching,” says the 78-year-old author. He shared a very amicable bond with Padmarajan, whom he knew from his early days. 

“He was a very lovable person. Director John Abraham died when we were shooting ‘Thoovanathumbikal’ in Thrissur, and I remember how that really shook him,” Stanley remembers. The veteran producer is happy that Thoovanathumbikal is still being watched and discussed even now, by the younger generation.
“The movie will survive time. One thing Padmarajan made sure of was that his characters were devoid of unnecessary drama. The movie discussed youth, love and lust.

These factors are universal—any youngster from any generation would relate to this. The movie also has many visible undertones—like the way it used the five elements of nature. Clara’s character is the goddess of rain and Jayakrishnan is earth. But then, I think Thoovanathumbikal is a movie that keeps giving, there are many interpretations yet to come,” concludes Stanley.


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