The first heroine of Malayalam cinema makes a comeback 82 years after her mysterious disappearance. ‘Celluloid’, the film directed by Kamal and jointly scripted by him and Vinu Abraham tells the story of Rosy, the heroine of ‘Vigatha Kumaran’, the first film made in Malayalam, J C Daniel, the man who made it, his wife Janet, and a lot of others who loved and lived in cinema.
The film is based on a novel ‘Nashta Nayika’ (The Lost Heroine) by Vinu Abraham and a book by Chelangad Gopalakrishnan titled ‘J C Daniel’ which was published after the latter’s death.
Rosy’s life was not a rosy one before or after her entry into film as she belonged to the lowest strata of the society in class and caste. When the film was released on October 23, 1930 at Thiruvananthapuram Capitol theatre, the heroine had to face brickbats instead of bouquets because of her caste and gender.
The ‘pulaya’ girl had made two mistakes – becoming an actress, which no woman of her time dared to do, and doing the role of an upper caste woman, which the caste demons found ‘ blasphemous’.
“The film presents three phases in history. First is 1920 to 1940, second 1970 to 1975 and finally the first decade of the present century,” says Kamal, who also turns a producer with this film along with Ubaid under the banner of Primetime Cinema.
“ We do not have the details of her life after she fled from the inaugural scene of her debut film. The film searches her life through the eyes of Chelangad Gopalakrishnan, a man who spent all his life researching on Malayalam cinema,” says Vinu Abraham.
Sreenivasan will play the role of Chelangad while Prithviraj is J C Daniel. Samvrutha Sunil will play his wife Janet . The team is
looking for a fresh face for the role of Rosy as the film is scheduled to start shooting in mid-August.