KOCHI: T E Vasudevan, 97, the grand old man of Malayalam film industry, passed away in Kochi on Tuesday. Born to A Sankara Menon and T Esoda Amma on July 16, 1917, he was the first recipient of the J C Daniel Award when it was instituted in 1992.The veteran producer, known for his high values, started his journey in film world by opening a theatre in Tripunithura when he was 21, in the same year, which saw the first Malayalam Talky Balan, He was founder member of Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce in 1955 and served as president between 1995 and 96.
Considering the dearth of film distributors in Kerala, Vasudevan started a film distribution office, Associated Pictures (P) Ltd at Tripunithura in 1940. In less than 10 years he brought to Kerala more than a 1,000 feature films in different languages such as Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Canarese and Sinhalese and became one of the prominent film distributor of the State. Experience in the distribution sector for a decade prompted Vasudevan to launch a film production concern-Associated Productions-in 1950 . During a span of four decades he had produced films under the banners of Associated Productions, Jai Maruthi Productions and Jai Jaya, which opened doors to many technicians and artists in more than 50 films in Malayalam including six in colour with the artists from Prem Nazir to Mammootty. Cochin Express Bharyamar Sookshikuka, Lottery Ticket Manithali and Maniyara are some of the super hits.
He stopped production with Kaalam Maari Katha Maari (Times changed so as the story) in 1987. Five of his films - Snehaseema, Nairu Pidicha Pulival,Puthiya Aakasam Puthiya Bhoomi,Kavyamela and Ezhuthathakatha (1970) have won National Awards. He is survived by wife M K Radhamma and daughter Valsala. K L Kumar, former chairman of Cochin Refineries, is his son-in-law. The cremation will be held at Ravipuram crematorium at 3 pm on Wednesday.