Remembering Premji on his 15th death anniversary
Mullamangalath Parameshwaran Bhattathiripad (23 September 1908 – 10 August 1998), commonly known as M. P. Bhatathirippad or Premji, was a social reformer, cultural leader and actor from Kerala state, India. Born into a Nambudiri family, Premji joined Yogakshema Sabha and worked with V. T. Bhattathiripad, E. M. S. Namboodiripad and his brother M. R. Bhattathiripad in the fight against the casteism and conservatism that existed in the Nambudiri community. Premji was also a noted stage and film actor.
Premji was born on 23 September 1908 in a Namboodiri Brahmin family in Vanneri, Malappuram, Kerala. It was a time when Kerala was experiencing a social uprising. The effect of that was visible in Premji’s family and life as well. His brother M. R. Bhatathirippad, popularly known as MRB was a prominent figure in Malayalam professional plays. Premji joined Yogakshema Sabha and worked with V. T. Bhattathiripad, E. M. S. Namboodiripad and MRB in the fight against the casteism and conservatism that existed in the Nambudiri community. MRB got married at the age of 40 to Arya Antharjanam (30years old) from Karuvat Illam, Kanjany, Trichur, who was a widow since the age of 17. This was when widow-marriages were completely prohibited in Nambudiri community.
Premji started his professional life as a proof editor in Mangalodayam press Thrissur when he was 19. He soon launched his acting career with Adukkalayil Ninnu Arangathakku, a play by eminent dramatist V. T. Bhatathirippad. Later, he acted in various plays: MRB’s Marakkudakkullile Mahaanarakam, Moothiringode Bhavathrathan Namboothiripad’s Apphante Makal, Cherukad’s Nammalonnu and Snehabimbangal and P. R. Warrier’s Chavittikkuzhacha Mannu are some of them. He won gold medal from the Government of Kerala for his performance in the play Shah Jahan, produced by Kalakaumudi Nataka Koottayma.
He was also awarded a fellowship by the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy. With his expertise in plays, he ventured into film industry. He debuted in Minnaminungu and went on to act in about 60 films including Thacholi Othenen, Kunjali Marakkar, Lisa, Yaagam, Uttarayanam and Piravi. He won the National Film Award for Best Actor as well as Kerala State Film Award and also won Filmfare Award for Best Malayalam Actor for his performance as a father in search of his missing son in Piravi (1989), directed by Shaji N. Karun. In addition to the much acclaimed play Ritumathi Premji has 4 collected verses to his credit as well, namely Sapakthni, Nalkalikal, Raktha Sandesam and Premji Padunnu.
He died on 10 August 1998. One of his children named Hari retired as a Joint Registrar from the Cochin University of Science and Technology in Cochin. He is now residing at Arattupuzha, a serene green village in Thrissur district in Kerala.
National Film Awards:
Best Actor – 1989 – Piravi
Kerala State Film Awards:
Best Actor – 1989 – Piravi
Filmfare Awards South:
Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Malayalam – 1989 – Piravi
Piravi (1989) …. Chakyar
Anu Bandham (1985) …. Valiya Nampoothiri
Oru Thira Pinneyum Thira(1982)
Thrishna (1981) …. Sankar Menon
Vilkkanundu Swapnangal (1980) …. Sridevi’s Valyammavan
Lisa (1978) …. Bhavithradan Namputhirippadu
Chennay Valarthiya kutti(1976)
Othenande Makan (1970)
Kunjali Marakkar (1966) …. Zamorin of Calicut
Thacholi Othenan (1964)
Shymala Chechi (1965)
Thira, Veendum Oru Thira
Courtesy : WIKIPEDIA