MT Vasudevan Nair Birthday

At 80, Malayalee writer MT wants to do more


Kozhikode (Kerala) July 15 : On his 80th birthday Monday, one of Kerala's most versatile, popular and prolific writer M.T. Vasudevan Nair - popularly known as MT - humbly said he has done little and wants to do more.

"I have done a little. I wish to do more and my prayer is that I have good health for it," said MT, one of the most sought after screenplay writers in the state.

Born in Kudallur, a small village in present-day Palakkad district (Palghat), he now lives in Kozhikode.

His all-time popular novels about life in the matriarchal family in Kerala are "Naalukettu" (The Legacy), "Asuravithu" (The Demon Seed), and "Kaalam" (Time).

Awards have come calling on him, including Padma Bhushan and the Jnanpith, for his contribution to Malayalam literature. His novel "Randamoozham" (The Second Turn) is widely credited as his masterpiece.

Superstar Mammootty recalls his over three decades old friendship with the great multi-faceted personality as one he wishes to cherish forever.

Incidentally, the first film for which Mammootty donned the grease paint was "Devalokathil", directed by MT. However, it could not be completed.

For more details

M. T. Vasudevan Nair

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
M. T. Vasudevan Nair
Mt vasudevan nayar.jpg
Born 15 July 1933 (age 79)
KudallurPalghatBritish India
Occupation Novelist, short story writer,screenplay writer, film director
Language Malayalam
Nationality Indian
Alma mater Victoria College, Palakkad
Genres Novel, short story, children's literature, travelogue, essays
Subjects Social aspects, Oriented on the basic Malayalam family and cultures
Literary movement Realism
Notable work(s) NaalukettuRandamoozham,ManjuKaalamAsuravithu, "Iruttinte Athmavu"
Notable award(s) Padma BhushanJnanpithSahitya Akademi AwardKerala Sahitya Akademi Award
Spouse(s) Kalamandalam Saraswathi

Madathil Thekkepaattu Vasudevan Nair (Malayalam:മഠത്തില്‍ തെക്കെപാട്ട് വാസുദേവന്‍ നായര്‍; born 15 July 1933),[1] popularly known as MT, is an Indian author,screenplay writer and film director.[2] He was born inKudallur, a small village in the present day Palakkad district (Palghat), which was under the Malabar District in the Madras Presidency of the British Raj.[3] He is one of the most prolific and versatile writers in modern Malayalam literature. Most of his works are oriented towards the basic Malayalam family structure and culture and many of them were path-breaking in the history ofMalayalam literature. His three seminal novels on life in the matriarchal family in Kerala are Naalukettu (The Legacy), Asuravithu (The Demon Seed), and Kaalam(Time). In 2005, India's third highest civilian honourPadma Bhushan was awarded to him.[4] He was awarded the highest literary award in India, Jnanpith, for his overall contribution to Malayalam literature. His novelRandamoozham (The Second Turn) is widely credited as his masterpiece.



Early life and family[edit]

Vasudevan was born in 1933 in Kudallur in the present day Palakkad district as the son of T. Narayanan Nair and Ammalu Amma. He spent his early days in a village called Punnayurkulam in the present day Thrissur district. Nair completed his schooling from Kumaranelloor High School and obtained a degree in chemistry from Victoria College, Palakkad (1953). He has been married twice. His second wife is the dance artist Kalamandalam Saraswathi with whom he has a daughter.


Literary career[edit]

His first short stories were published in several magazines while he was a youth. The glorious saga of MT's literary career began with the publication of "Valarthumrugangal", in 1953. It was a short story delineating the pathetic plight of the artists in circus. The numerous stories which followed dealt with themes culled from widely different milieus and contexts but were uniformly successful and popular. The noted collections of his stories are Iruttinte Athmavu, Olavum Theeravum, Bandhanam, Varikkuzhi, Dare-e-Salam, Swargam Thurakkunna Samayam, Vaanaprastham and Sherlock. "Iruttinte Athmavu" ("Creature of Darkness"), one of the most celebrated among his short stories, is the heart wrenching story of a 21-year old man, regarded as a lunatic by everyone and treated abominably. The story reveals the insanity behind the civilised and supposedly sane world. M.T. Vasudevan Nair, along with T. Padmanabhan, serve as bridges between the early modern short story writers in Malayalam, of the so-called renaissance, and the new short story of the late fifties and sixties.

The deep emotional experiences of his early days have gone into the making of MT's novels. His most famous novels include NaalukettuManjuKaalamAsuravithu and Randamoozham. His debut novelNaalukettu (The Legacy; 1958) is a veritable depiction of the situation which prevailed in a typical joint family when its fortunes is on a steady decline. Asuravithu (The Demon Seed) which is set in a fictional Valluvanadan village named Kizhakkemuri can be considered almost as a sequel toNaalukettu. It has the same geophysical and socio-cultural setting. In Asuravithu there are clear indications of the damaging impact of an alien culture in the pollution of the indigenous culture and the disintegration of the family and the community. These two early novels—Naalukettu and Asuravithu—depict a phase in which the economic and cultural scenario of Kerala manifested symptoms which were to develop into dangerous ecocidal tendencies at a later stage. Randamoozham (The Second Turn), widely regarded as the author's masterpiece, retells the story of the Mahabharatha from the point of view of Bhimasena, supposed to be the son of Vayu; this is demystified or demythified in the novel. In this novel, Bhima gains, through the author's ironic undertones, a new psychological depth. "I have not changed the framework of the story by the first Vyasa, Krishna-Dwaipayana. I have read between his lines and expanded on his pregnant silences," says the author.[2] His later novels, such as Manju (Mist), are characterised by profuse lyricism which cannot to be found in Naalukettu orAsuravithu. The eco-feminist theme of patriarchal domination and exploitation gains more prominence in Manju, MT's only novel with a female protagonist (Vimala). Set in the splendid landscape of Nainital, it stands apart as set in a milieu different from the usual one, the Valluvanadan village. In the novelKaalam (Time), MT returns to his favourite milieu, the dilapidated joint-family Nair tarwad set against the wider backdrop of the Valluvanadan village in the backdrop of the crumbling matrilineal order of Kerala in a newly independent India. Sethu, the protagonsit, is toppled over by the eddies of social, cultural and economic transformation. Kaalam, though not strictly autobiographical, has a strong autobiographical element in it. MT wrote Arabipponnu (The Gold of Arabia) along with N. P. Mohammed. MT and Mohamed stayed in a rented house in Karuvarakkundu village, Kozhikode for a period of two weeks to complete this work. MT's latest novel is Varanasi (2002) which is an emotional journey to Varanasi, a pilgrim centre in North India.

MT has authored two books on the craft of writing—Kaathikante Panippura and Kaathikante Kala—and his anecdotal columns articles on various topics and speeches on different occasions have been compiled under the titles Kilivaathililude, Kannanthalippookkalude Kaalam, Vakkukalude Vismayamand Eekakikalude SabdamManushyar Nizhalukal and Aalkkoottathil Thaniye are his travelogues.

He occupied and continues to occupy many important and powerful positions in various literary bodies including the presidentship of Kerala Sahitya Akademi and the chairmanship of Tunchan Memorial Trust. He was an Executive Member of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi. The Library of Congress has in its collection sixty-two books, mostly by MT and some on him. Also, some of them are translations of his works into English. MT joined the Mathrubhumi Group of Publications in 1956. When he retired from there in 1998, he was their editor of periodicals and Chief Editor of Mathrubhumi weekly. On 2 June 1996, he was bestowed with honorary D.Lit degree by the Calicut University.

Film career[edit]

MT along with Ramachandra Babu, who served as cinematographer in many of his films.

M. T. Vasudevan Nair is one of the most distinguished and well accepted script writers and directors in Malayalam cinema.[5] MT was the first and foremost script writer in Malayalam who wrote screenplays after having learnt cinema as a distinctive visual art which has its own language, grammar and structure.[5] It was only after he began writing screenplays the Malayali viewers began to consider film scriptas a distinctive genre which has its own genuine features. Also it was M.T who elevated this medium of writing as a literary from.[5]

MT's screenplays have won social attention for the portrayal of the social and cultural crisis in the contemporary life of Kerala. The disintegration of human values and relationship which creates identity crisis, sense of loss, dehumanisation, alienation from one's own surroundings etc. have been presented in its depth by MT more than any other writers. The best examples are KanyakumariVarikkuzhiVilkkanundu SwapnangalEdavazhiyile Poocha MindappoochaAkshrangalAalkkoottathil ThaniyeAaroodametc.[5] A salient aspect of MT's screenplays is the effective presentation of the ecological or geographical factors and elements making use of the visual possibilities of their portrayal.[5] Another unique feature is the language employed in them. Some of his screenplays are known for giving new interpretations to historical characters and historical stories. For instance, he gives the legends woven around the popular story of Perumthachan a new interpretation in his screenplay, based on his own assessment of Perumthachan's character. According to the folklore Vadakkanpattu (Northern Ballads), Chandu is said to have betrayed his cousin because he was jealous of Aaromal's popularity and abilities. But MT's Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha presents an alternative version of the same legend, as it presents the incident from Chandu's perspective, suggesting that grave injustice has been done to Chandu by wrongly accusing him of replacing the rivets.[5]

In 1973, M. T. Vasudevan Nair made his directorial debut with Nirmalyam which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. The film is about a village oracle whose services are no longer needed by the community and whose family begins to fall apart. MT scripted and directed many more films including the award-winning BandhanamKadavu and Oru Cheru PunchiriKadavu won awards at theSingapore International Film Festival and Japanese Film Festival. His cinema work also includes three documentaries and one TV series.

He has directed seven films and written the screenplay for around 54 films. He won the National Film Award for Best Screenplay four times for: Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (1989), Kadavu (1991), Sadayam(1992), and Parinayam (1994), which is the most by anyone in the screenplay category.

M. T. Vasudevan Nair was the chairman of Indian Panorama of the 46th National Film Awards (1998). He has also been a member of Film Finance CorporationNational Film Development Corporation and Film Censoring Committee. He has also served as a faculty in the Film and Television Institute, Pune.

Literary style and themes[edit]

MT was born and brought up in a sylvan village on the banks of Nila. The writer has so often acknowledged his indebtedness to the ethos of his village and to Nila which has ever been the mainspring of his creative inspiration. Nila occurs and re-occurs in MT's fiction, as a presence and as a symbol, endorsing this view. The staple locale of his fiction is the Valluvanadan village. The landscape and ethos of the Valluvanad region and the transformations undergone by them in the course of the century, involving relics of the tarawad and the communal tensions provide a challenging theme for the highly evocative style of Vasudevan Nair's narrative art. The temporal milieu of MT's fiction stretches over the second half of the twentieth century, a period of tremendous social, cultural and economic changes.

It was in the sixties that MT rose to prominence as a writer. The phase of social realism had come to an end. In his opinion, class-war the ideal which had inspired the writers belonging to the preceding generation had almost lost its relevance by the time he entered the literary career. The prominent Malayalam writers of the pre-independence phase—ThakazhiVallathol and Kesavadev—were all stimulated by the progressive leftist ideals. They focussed their attention on social conflict as the theme for their writings—Conflict between capital and labour, between the landlord and the tenant, between the oppressor and the oppressed. MT felt that this theme of conflict was an outdated phenomena in the context of present Kerala. The protagonists of MT are men out of society and at war with themselves, a sharp contrast to the heroes of Kesavadev or Thakazhi who fight a losing war against the hostile forces in the society. MT, in spite of his broad and deep sympathy for the marginalised doesn't identify himself with any particular political ideology or movement.

Awards and honours[edit]

Jnanpith Award
  • 1995: For his contributions to Malayalam literature
Honorary Awards
Kendra Sahitya Academy Awards
Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards
  • 1958: Novel – Naalukettu
  • 1982: Drama – Gopura Nadayil
  • 1986: Short Story – Swargam Thurakkunna Samayam
National Film Awards
Kerala State Film Awards
Other awards and accolades

List of works[edit]


  • Naalukettu (1958, The Legacy)
  • Asuravithu (1962, The Demon Seed)
  • Manju (1964, Mist)
  • Kaalam (1969, Time)
  • Randamoozham (1984, The Second Turn)
  • Vilapayathra (The Funeral Procession)
  • Pathiravum Pakalvelichavum (Midnight and Daylight)
  • Arabipponnu (The Gold of Arabia; written with N. P. Mohammed)
  • Varanasi (2002)


  • Iruttinte Athmavu (The Soul of the Darkness)
  • Olavum Theeravum (Ripple and Shore)
  • Kuttyedathi
  • Varikkuzhi (The Trap)
  • Pathanam (The Fall)
  • Bandhanam (The Binding)
  • Swargavam Thurakkunna Samayam (When the Heaven's Gates Open)
  • Ninte (Yours)
  • Ninte Ormaykku (For Your Memory)
  • Vanaprastham (Into the Forest)
  • Dar-es-salam
  • Raktham Puranda Mantharikal (Blood-soaked Sand)
  • Veyilum Nilavum (Sunlight and Moonlight)
  • Kaliveedu (Playhouse)
  • Vedanayude Pookkal (Flowers of Sorrow)
  • Sherlock
  • Neelathamara (Blue Lotus)

Other works[edit]

  • Gopuranadayil
  • Parinayam[10]
Essays and studies
  • Kaathikante Kala
  • Kaathikante Panippura
  • Hemingway: Oru Mukhavura
  • Kannanthalippookkalude Kaalam
  • Vakkukalude Vismayam
  • Kilivaathililude
  • Eekakikalude Sabdam
  • Manushyar Nizhalukal
  • Aalkkoottathil Thaniye
  • Snehadarangalode
  • Ammaykku
  • Chithratheruvukal


2013 Kadhaveedu   Portmanteau film based on four stories written by himself,Vaikkom Muhammad BasheerThakazhi Sivasankara Pillai,Madhavikutty
Under production
2013 Ezhamathe Varavu   Under production
2009 Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja    
2009 Neelathamara(Blue Lotus)   Remake of the 1979 film of the same name with revised screenplay
2001 Theerthadanam(Pilgrimage)   Based on the story "Vanaprastham"
2001 Oru Cheru Punchiri(A Slender Smile) Yes Based on the story "Mithunam" by Telugu writer Sriramana
1998 Daya(Compassion)   Based on a story from One Thousand and One Nights
1998 Ennu Swantham Janakikutty   Based on the story "Cheriya Cheriya Bhookampangal"
1998 Thakazhi Yes Documentary on renowned Malayalam writer Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai[11]
1995 Naalukettu   Tele-Serial based on the novel of the same name
1994 Sukrutham    
1994 Parinayam(Wedding)    
1992 Sadayam (With Compassion)    
1991 Kadavu ( The Ferry) Yes Based on the story "Kadathuthoni" by S. K. Pottekkatt
1991 Venal Kinavukal(Summer Dreams)    
1990 Midhya    
1990 Perumthachan    
1990 Thazhvaram (The Valley)    
1989 Utharam (Answer)   Based on the story "No Motive" by Daphne du Maurier
1989 Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha (A Northern Story of Valor)    
1988 Aranyakam    
1988 Vaishali    
1987 Amrutham Gamaya    
1986 Kochu Themmadi(The Little Rascal)    
1986 Abhayam Thedi(In Search of a Shelter)    
1986 Rithubhedam    
1986 Nakhakshathangal    
1986 Panchagni (Five Fires)    
1985 Rangam    
1985 Idanilangal    
1985 Anubandham    
1984 Aalkkoottathil Thaniye (Alone in a Crowd)    
1984 Adiyozhukkukal    
1984 Aksharangal(Alphabets)    
1984 Uyarangalil (At the Top)    
1984 Vellam (Water)    
1983 Aaroodam    
1983 Manju (Mist) Yes Based on the novel of the same name
1982 Varikuzhi (The Trap) Yes Based on the story of the same name
1981 Trishna (Thirst)    
1981 Valarthu Mrugangal    
1980 Vilkkanundu Swapnangal    
1980 Oppol (The Elder Sister)    
1979 Edavazhiyile Poocha Minda Poocha    
1979 Neelathamara(Blue Lotus)    
1978 Bandhanam(Bond) Yes Based on the story of the same name
1977 Mohini Attam Yes Documentary film about the Indian art form Mohini Attam
1974 Kanyakumari    
1974 Paathiravum Pakalvelichavum    
1973 Nirmalayam (The Offering) Yes Based on the story "Pallivalum Kalchilambum"
Also produced the film under the banner of Novel Films
1971 Kuttiyedathi    
1971 Mappusakshi    
1971 Vithukal (Seeds)    
1970 Nizhalattam(Shadow Play)    
1969 Olavum Theeravum   Based on the story of the same name
1968 Asuravithu   Based on the novel of the same name
1967 Nagarame Nandi   Partially based on the films The Conquerors of the Golden City(1965) and Birds of Exile (1964)[12]
1966 Iruttinte Athmavu   Based on the story of the same name
1966 Pakalkkinavu    
1965 Murappennu    
Evideyo Oru Shathru   An incomplete feature film starring Sukumaran and Venu Nagavalli. The screenplay was published in Chilla magazine and later released as a book by Mathrubhumi Books. This book has some stills from the movie.


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