Salim Kumar recalls the first time he met Kalabhavan Mani. It was when they were both in Kalabhavan, the troupe that created so many stars. This dates back to a march, about twenty-two years ago. From then on Mani and Salim kumar had shared close associations; on stage, on screen and even through life. And through Salim’s eulogy it seems that he wishes to renew this bond in the afterlife.
On stage and on screen they were hilarious together, and in real life they were ‘better men’. Those who lived the hard life climbed up the social ladder with effort and determination. It is not just in life that they had similar courses but in their careers too they went along identical paths: both starting off as stage performers, then on to the big screen in comic roles, then going on to prove their versatility through different roles.
A testament for their talent is the various awards that the two have garnered. Mani’s Special Jury Award from 2000 National Film Awards and Salim Kumar’s Best Actor Award in the 2010 National Film Awards show that their capability is not bound by language or territory.
A movie Salim Kumar recently produced, as well as acted is set to be released on 18th march 2016. The movie ‘Moonam Naal Njayarazhcha’, directed and scripted by T A Razzac, is a realistic adaptation. It might not have come as a surprise to many when Salim Kumar announced this movie to be a tribute to his friend Kalabhavan Mani. What more suitable than a realistic movie to commemorate a man who lived his life amid the ‘real’ men, even in his heights of stardom.
Salim Kumar recounts a TV interview where Mani states that Death is a necessity for an artist to get his due recognition. And he was right. When Salim Kumar’s eulogy ends with a promise that, we all who loves you are sure to follow, it stays more a promise from the depths of hislove than a statement of the predicament of human mortality.
|National award wining actor salim kumar in Moonam Naal Njayarazhcha|
|Still from Moonam Naal Njayarazhcha|