Popular Malayalam screenwriter and director Dennis Joseph passed away at a private hospital in Kottayam following a heart attack on Monday evening. The demise of Dennis Joseph is a great loss to Malayalam cinema, said many of his movie colleagues.
Director Bhadran, a close friend of Dennis Joseph remembers his good old days with the latter. Sharing an old pic, Bhadran penned a long post. He also mentioned nobody from Malayalam cinema enquired how he was living and only began talking about him after he passed away. His post could be roughly translated as:
Around ten days before noted scriptwriter Dennis Joseph had bid adieu to this world, he sent me an old photograph with the caption, “Do you remember these industrious young men?”
I couldn’t stop laughing as I really enjoyed that hilarious caption. The young men in the picture were I, Dennis and Joshiy. Dennis was always like that, he would openly say whatever comes to his mind. The moment when that photograph was clicked, I thought that it should be kept forever. However, now, it causes great pain.
In the photo, you would notice a 555 cigarette between my fingers. Many people have asked me whether I used to smoke. However, it was a cigarette that I took from a pack in Dennis’ pocket, without seeking his permission. I was drawn to the whiff of the densely packed tobacco in the cigarette before it was lighted. I, however, didn’t have the habit of smoking.
Later, I became close friends with Dennis, who had by that time given up such habits and became a more refined man. I am sure that Malayalam cinema wouldn’t see a screenwriter like this anymore. Before he turned thirty, Dennis was able to give a unique personality to the films that were made in Malayalam cinema. I had told him, “I think we should do a movie together.” However, in his usual straightforward style, Dennis said, “You are on another level. Things would explode if we come together for a project.”
He said that, not because he wasn’t interested in working with me. He had always encouraged me and my ideas. Dennis would always speak greatly about the movie Iyer the Great.
Didn’t Dennis write all the movies that became turning points in the careers of the two screen icons in Malayalam cinema? The super hit movie New Delhi gave a new life to a ‘gem’ that was almost discarded, and made it ‘shine’ again. He made Vincent Gomez the undisputed emperor on the silver screen. Dennis wrote countless stories for these great actors. Then why did Dennis remain an introvert? The cinema industry should seek the answer for that.
He might have quarrelled with the kind of cinema that would choke you and had given rise to the concept of the typical ‘hero’. Dennis had gone to meet producer Babu of the Thomson group, in an auto rickshaw, to request the latter to give a recommendation for his daughter’s admission.
As Dennis got into the auto, to leave, Babu said he would drop him in his car. However, Dennis said, “I came in an auto and would return in it too. Now, I am a commoner.” I felt heaviness in my heart when Babu told me this after Dennis’ demise.
Malayalam cinema didn’t enquire how that poor man was living. After he died, everyone asks for the reasons. How ironic is that! I can see Dennis flying to the heavens, probably to write a script for the angels.