KOCHI: No other film might have captured the imagination of Communists in Kerala like the 1990 film Lal Salam, loosely based on the life of T V Thomas and KR Gouri Amma, and forgotten Communist leader T K Varghese Vaidyan.
Though the film was penned by Cheriyan Kalpakavady, the younger son of Vaidyan (played as Nettooran by Mohanlal in the film), to highlight the contributions and sacrifices his father made for the party, it became a cult film documenting an important chapter from the annals of Communist movement in Kerala — the rise of Gouri Amma (Sethulakshmi enacted by Geetha) and T V Thomas (D K Antony by Murali).
“I cannot tell my father’s story without the names of TV and Gouri Amma coming up. They were thick friends who together played a crucial part in the state’s Communist movement,” said Cheriyan. Gouri Amma, however, never liked the film, he said. “She wasn’t happy with the way the film presented a certain part of Thomas’ life.”
“I met Gouri Amma only twice. The first time was when the film’s shooting was under way at Alappuzha guest house. She was a minister then. Mohanlal introduced me to her when she arrived at the guest house,” he said. The second meeting took place in 1999 when Lok Sabha election campaigns were under way.