P K Rosy:Honoring the first female protagonist in Malayalam film with a Google Doodle 2023

On February 10, 1903, P.K. Rosy was born at Rajamma, Thiruvananthapuram. She acquired her interest for performing at a young age. P K Rosy played the lead in JC Daniel’s film Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child).

P K Rosy

P K Rosy

She represented the Nair woman Sarojini in the movie. She depicted an upper-caste woman in the film, and the male protagonist was seen kissing a flower in her hair.She comes from the Pulaya neighbourhood (Scheduled Caste).

P K Rosy Google Doodle: She broke several barriers by playing the female lead in the film “Vigathakumaran” (The Lost Child), especially because performing arts were not often supported for women in many parts of society.

P K Rosy, the first Dalit and female performer in Malayalam film, celebrated her 120th birthday on Friday, and Google created a doodle in her honour.

P K Rosy, who was born in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, in 1903, discovered her affinity for performing at a young age. She became well-known after starring as the female protagonist in the 1928 film Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child). Backlash was brought on by her portrayal of an upper-caste woman in the movie, which featured a scene in which the male protagonist kissed a flower in her hair. As a result of being compelled to flee the state,P K Rosy is reported to have boarded a lorry and travelled to Tamil Nadu, where she married the driver and made her home as “Rajamma.”

Despite having a short career, P K Rosy broke a number of barriers, especially considering that women were not encouraged to pursue the arts at the time.

The 2013 Malayalam film “Celluloid,” starring Prithvi Raj, is based on J C Daniel’s role as “Vigathakumaran” director and Rosy’s involvement in the production.

P K Rosy was a pioneer who rarely earned the honour and attention she deserved and is a sometimes forgotten yet crucial character in Indian film. She was the first actress in Malyalam cinema, according to legend, and she appeared in J.C. Daniel’s Vigathakumaran (The Lost Child) at a period when societal norms and attitudes discouraged women from working in film.

However, PK Rosy’s journey in film was far but simple. She not only violated gender stereotypes by portraying a Nair woman in a movie when she belonged to a lower caste, but she also infuriated the upper castes, who ultimately drove her out of the movie business and the state.

She was honoured with a Google Doodle on the day of her 120th birthday.

A girl interested in performing

The birth name of P K Rosy, who was born in 1903 to a Pulaya family in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, was allegedly Rajamma. Her family, who belonged to the Dalit subcaste, mowed grass on the fields and lawns of the wealthy. Rajamma had to mow grass to support her family because she lost her father when she was a little child.

Furthermore, her aptitude for acting was evident from a young age; she frequently attended play rehearsals and studied the ancient Kakkarissi Nattakam at a nearby performing arts institute. Kakkarissi, a type of musical theatre, relates tales of Lord Shiva and Parvati wandering the planet as nomads.

But at the time, there were significant entry obstacles for women in theatre and the budding film business. Acting, which was the realm of males who played both male and female characters, was regarded as immodest or obscene for women.

Rajamma joined a theatre group in Thycaud over the opposition of her family, and over time, she steadily gained recognition as a talented performer.

Being a Nair lady on film

Kerala’s first-ever motion picture, Vigathakumaran or The Lost Child, was created by J.C. Daniel, who is regarded as the founder of Malyalam cinema. It was first shown in 1928. Daniel struggled to locate an actress even though he played the major role in the silent movie. At the time, no Keralan woman was prepared to appear in a movie.

In dire need of a female lead, Daniel imported an actress from Bombay, according to the tale. But a number of issues caused this actress to leave shortly after filming began, leaving Daniel in a terrible situation. P K Rosy entered the room. Although it is unknown how Daniel came to know her or how he decided to make her his heroine, he most likely had little option. P K Rosy was not just a very talented artist but also one of the state’s very few women actresses at the time.

The abduction of a wealthy man’s son to Ceylon was the central plot point of Vigathakumaran. Many members of the higher castes were offended by P K Rosy’s portrayal of a Nair woman in the movie. Audiences were particularly outraged by a moment in which her lover (Daniel) was seen kissing a flower in her hair. According to other stories, the theatregoers were so furious that they threw stones at the screen.

Expelled from the state and the film industry

J.C. Daniel was prepared for some of the criticism. He did not invite Rosy to the premiere of her own movie as a result. He had no idea what would happen next, though. The Malyali aristocracy of the time did not appreciate the casting of a Dalit lady as a Nair. Neither did the open expression of affection between a guy from a higher caste and a Dalit woman.

reports of looting and riots both in the city and the theatre. Rosy’s family’s cottage was allegedly burned down by a group of upper caste guys. P K Rosy finally sought refuge with her former theatre group, but even it could not shield her from higher caste men’s persistent pestering and frequent assaults.

She eventually took a vehicle carrying some cargo and fled to Nagercoil. She started a new life away from movies there, getting married to the truck driver who had assisted her in getting away. Ironically, she married a Nair in the end.

Considering Rosy

Before she was compelled to permanently quit acting in the movie industry, P K Rosy appeared in just one movie. She did this by being the first Dalit actor in India as well as the first actress in Malyalam film. She did, however, shatter too many glass ceilings at a time when society was not prepared to accept that. For a long time, P K Rosy was marginalised.

However, when Dalit politics in the state and the nation grew more heated, her name once more became well-known. Today, P K Rosy is seen as a trailblazer for the Dalit struggle and a prime illustration of how Dalits are routinely excluded from Malyali public life.

A film organisation dedicated to P K Rosy will soon be established, according to a recent announcement by the Malayalam film industry’s Women in Cinema Collective (WCC). “With the other names, we believed we may be questioned,” WCC member Archana Padmini told Film Companion. “But we knew P K Rosy would be acceptable to everybody.”

The statement’s simple irony serves as perhaps the best illustration of how far civilization has come in the past 100 years. The biggest homage will definitely be to make the film business a more diverse and inclusive environment for everyone for a woman who was viciously shunned by the exact profession that is now ready to welcome her.

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