P.Padmarajan is an acclaimed name in Malayalam literature and cinema history. He was an Indian screenwriter, author, and film director, known for his intricate writing and direction.
Padmarajan, born in Alleppey, Kerala, to parents Anantha Padmanabha Pillai, and Devaki Amma, graduated in Chemistry from the University of Trivandrum. In 1965, he signed up as an announcer on All India Radio (AIR), Thrissur, and continued to work with them till 1986. He tied the knot to Radhalakshmi in 1970, who was his co-worker at AIR. Later on, Padmarajan had to retire prematurely from AIR, due to his literature and movie commitments. Padmarajan’s literary works were inherent of all the social causes that affected and influenced the society, at large. In 1972, he was the recipient of Kerala Sahitya Academy Award, for his debut novel “Nakshatrangale Kaaval.”
Most of Padmarajan’s works in writing are considered to have reached the zenith of Malayalam literature. Padmarajan set foot in Malayalam movies in 1975 when he was offered the screenplay writing of director Bharatan’s debut venture “Prayaanam,” for he received accreditation in the form of a Film Fans Award for Best Screenplay. A few years later, Padmarajan entered the fray of directing movies based on his writings and screenplays. “Peruvazhiyambalam” was the first project, based on his screenplay, and was directed by him. The film was well received by critics, actors, and the mass for its original theme, visuals and scintillating display of unmatched levels of attention to the tiniest of details.
Padmarajan always proved to be the personification of the phrase “Think out of the Box” by inculcating relatable characters and emotions, and unexpected climaxes in his films. In the year 1977, he was presented with the ‘Kerala Films Critics Award for Best Screenplay’ for his movie, Itha Ivide Vare. Right from 1978 up to 1991, Padmarajan added a legion of awards to his trophy cabinet in the category of either the Best Screenplay or the Best Story for his movies such as “Rapadikalude Gatha,” “Koodevide,” “
,” “Apaaran,”, “Innale,” just to name a few. He was twice the recipient of National Awards in 1979 and ’86 for Peruvazhiyambalam and Thinkalaazhcha Nalla Divasam, respectively.
Padmarajan has worked alongside most of the talented and popular actors from the Malayalam film industry, as well as other regional actors such as
(a Marathi actor and director), famous for the role of Lord Krishna in B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat. Padmarajan is also known for his astute sense of scouting talents and bringing in future stars into the industry by featuring them in his movies. Actors Ashokan, Ajayan, Jayaram, Rahman, and actress Suhasini are just some of them. Padmarajan’s collaboration with director Bharathan is considered to be gilt-edged in the history of Malayalam cinema. Thoppil Ajayan, Blessy, and
, who were assisting Padmarajan in his works, flourished as individual directors and started to direct independent films.
Padmarajan left such an indelible mark in Malayalam film and literature industry that Padmarajan Award was introduced to honor individuals for their commendable contribution in the category of feature film and short story.
Sadly, on 24th of January, 1991, Padmarajan passed away as a result of a massive cardiac arrest. He breathed his last in Hotel Paramount Towers in Kozhikode, where he was on the tour of a cinema theater featuring his ultimate movie, Njan Gandharvan.