By Joshua Newton |
Jayan, a matinee idol among Malayalee youth in the '70s is once again
creating ripples among his young fans in Kerala. The comeback by an
actor dead and gone 20 years ago is causing both surprise and sympathy
among the public.
Jayan, a former customs officer, made his debut as an actor in 1974
in the film Shapamoksham, directed by Jessy. After that, Jayan was
thrown upon a tidal wave that took him to dizzying heights of fame
and glory. Once known and ridiculed for his theatrical expressions
and machismo, Jayan was also a perfect symbol of muscle-flexing heroism.
Directors used his gymnastic physique for showing scenes in which
the macho Jayan, often shirtless, was either oiling a horse or sparring
a black tiger. Of course, in the later years of common sense and realistic
cinema, Jayan was dismissed with a grin by a more cynical Kerala audience.
Surprisingly, this man is once again pursued by youth. They even imitate
Jayan's 50 cm bell-bottom pants and shark fin collars of his shirt,
in fad two decades back. They dutifully mimic his dialogue exactly
in his heavy bass swinging to a high pitch all delivered with precisely
the same 'I'll-puncture-you' look on the face.
His style back in fad
Some of the college campuses in Kerala even observed the 20th death
anniversary of Jayan by wearing the typical Jayan costume of bell-bottom
pants, tight shirts and dark sunglasses. The college union of one
of the city colleges in Kochi renamed its annual youth festival as
'Jayanothsavam' (Jayan Festival).
Television channels, including Doordarshan, paid tributes to the actor
by screening a Jayan retrospective. And an audio tape producer who
rightly sensed the fad, brought out songs with introduction in the
voice of the actor. The tape became an instant hit with over 10,000
cassettes selling within a month of release.
Of the Jayan movies, Sarapancharam, written by Malayattoor
Ramakrishnan and directed by Hariharan set a new box-office record
in 1978. Breathtaking action scenes, tight and risky stunts and fiery
dialogues of Jayan truly made watching the film a thrilling experience.
Of course, we are talking about an age before John Woo (Mission
Impossible and Mission Impossible-2 fame) and Dolby Digital
Jayan was linked with the then siren Seema. One particular rumour
went to the extent of saying that Seema named her son Jayan, much
against the wish of her husband I.V. Sasi. Which was untrue, since
Jayan, as known by his colleagues, had a benevolent soul within him.
Waking up from total penury, Jayan never forgot his past and kept
his cool whenever things went wrong in life. And kept his head firmly
on his head during his heydays. Director Sreekumaran Thampi fondly
remembers when at a shooting site, Jayan used to get up at 4 am and
knock at all room doors to wake the crew up for that day's shoot.
Keralites had a rude shock on November 16, 1980, when the news broke
that Jayan was crushed under a chopper that accidentally hit the ground
during the shoot. Jayan was hanging down from the landing bars of
the chopper by rejecting the director's offer for a dupe. He was killed
Fans fondly remember the coolie Jayan in the film Angadi (Market),
when he stuns a landlord and his daughter with his fiery English dialogues
as a reply for their rude comments about coolies. No doubt one still
would give the actor a standing ovation for that.
The above article is taken from www.zeenext.com
[ http://cinema.zeenext.com/whatsnew/0712-javan.asp ]