KOCHI: John Paul was a man of composure and the nature of his screenplays, which defined the Malayalam cinema of the 1980s, rightly reflected his personality. Critics kept acclaiming the style and substance of his writing, but success never went to his head as he remained simple. He ensured even the finest of his works, which delineated life in its true colours, connected with every movie lover.
When he spontaneously spoke about cinema and narrated the nice little stories associated with it in poetic words, one could not stop loving and appreciating his personality and prowess. As the Kochiite departs at 71, it’s a tough ask to put his contribution exactly in words.
John Paul wrote scripts for around 100 movies, including Athirathram, Ee Thanalil Ithiri Neram, Eeran Sandhya, Palangal, Sandhya Mayangum Neram, Utsavappittennu and Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam. He associated with all leading directors of his times like Bharathan, I V Sasi, K S Sethumadhavan, Mohan and Joshiy. Bharathan is rated by many as the best director Malayalam cinema has produced and his films Chamaram, Palangal, Kathodu Kathoram, Ormakkaayi, Ithiri Poove Chuvanna Poove, Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam, Keli and Chamayam were all written by John Paul.
“He was like our family member. He was a key figure in the formation and growth of Bharathan Foundation,” said Sidharth Bharathan, in his tribute. As a script writer, John Paul never allowed commercial elements to dominate the plot and kill its artistic value. Evergreen hits like Yathra, an adaptation of Japanese movie The Yellow Handkerchief, are examples of his skill to add commercial ingredients to the parallel cinema without overwhelming its true flavour.
John Paul bagged many state and national honours
For Yathra, John Paul weaved a different plot and gave a different dimension to its characters, with Balu Mahendra picturising it in his inimitable style. John Paul won many honours for his book, scripts and movie, but it is doubtful whether he got due recognition for all his contributions. Perhaps, the world of cinema will start acknowledging them more from now. It has often been like that.
John Paul was born to
P V Poulose and Rabecca
in Ernakulam on October 20, 1950
lHe was an employee with the Canara Bank, but quit the job to focus fully on cinema