Legendary filmmaker KG George is recuperating at the Signature care home for the elderly at Kakkanad after suffering a stroke. Meanwhile, fake news that his family has abandoned him has been doing the rounds on the social media. Besides, a few remarks made by George’s wife and singer Selma George about their marriage have become controversial too. In a special chat with Malayala Manorama, Selma and George sit together, to respond to some of the controversies about their private lives.
Selma said that most artists have a weakness for women. Is it true?
George: There is some truth in it!
Selma: George would openly speak about such matters in the cinema industry to me. Just like his films are truthful, he says the truth in real life too. I think having such affairs with women might have helped him as an artist. Many filmmakers have such weaknesses. I know all their stories. But their wives do not have the courage to speak out. That is the difference between them and me. George is very honest. He told me that he was saying all these to me so that I wouldn’t come to know of it from someone else. Besides, he might have felt happy narrating all those stories to me. Moreover, he might have enjoyed torturing me like that. (KG George laughs).
George: I feel good when I say that, but I never intended to torture her.
Will you try to become a better husband if you get another chance?
George: I don’t think I will change. I wish to live like this.
Selma: KG George would always stay the same.
How did you two get married?
Selma: I had met George for the first time at Chennai. One day, when my mother and I were coming out of a recording studio, we saw him on the road. My mother knew him as she too hails from Thiruvalla. She told me to ask him for a chance to sing in his movies. It was the time when he had directed 'Swapnadanam' (1976). I asked him and he replied that his movies usually don’t have songs. However, he promised to call me if something comes up. After two months, he came home and asked my mother for my hand in marriage. He later said that he had thought about proposing me when he saw me for the first time.
Did he give you any chance to sing in his movies?
Selma: After our engagement, I sang in his movie 'Onappudava' (1978). Later, I sang in 'Vyamoham' (1978) after marriage. That was (music composer) Ilayaraja’s first Malayalam movie. I was seven months pregnant while singing in it. Raja sir was scared seeing my big belly. He was tensed even though I told him that I was alright and I could sing. After recording, he was really happy. At the end of the song, he added the sound of a wailing baby too. George has given me opportunities to sing in his movies like 'Mannu', 'Ini Aval Urangatte', 'Mela', 'Yavanika', 'Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flashback', 'Adaminte Vaariyellu', 'Ulkadal' and 'Kadakku Pinnil'. But, it was mostly composer MB Srinivas sir who called me to sing. George never recommends for anyone. His character is like that. Our son Arun had wished to study at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. However, he didn’t let him go.
Why didn’t you let him go?
George: I didn’t want him to struggle.
Selma’s song Saradindu in 'Ulkadal' was a hit. However, you didn’t sing after that?
Selma: By that time, I had kids. Both of us couldn’t go out to work, leaving our kids at home. He allowed me freedom, but wasn’t interested in letting me go outside to sing. He wanted me to take care of the family. But, I wanted to become a famous singer. George used to console me saying that Saradindu alone is enough for everyone to remember me.
Does George have the traits of some of his villain characters?
George (laughs): It seems so.
Selma: I think he has some traits of Venu Nagavally’s character in 'Adaminte Variyellu'. I had contributed some of the dialogues in that movie.
What dialogue is that?
Selma: The one where the wife says ‘podo’ to her husband when she gets angry.
Do you wish to make more movies?
George: I don’t have such desires.
Selma: He used to tell that he could make movies only if he writes the script. That is not possible now. That is the reason why he says he will not make movies anymore.
George has difficulty saying some words. Selma says that he has been like this since he suffered the stroke. Doctors at the care centre take care of him and do routine check-ups.
We are paying a heft amount as monthly fee here. There is ambulance facility in case of an emergency. Our house is just 10 minutes away from this place. Every week, we visit him, with his favourite dishes. Despite all these, some people have been spreading lies that we have abandoned George at an orphanage and that the expenses are bore by an actor and some other organisations.
What are your plans?
George: I wish to go on a trip when the COVID-19 subsides.
(His daughter Tara George chipped in to say that she is planning a family trip in her Thar, throughout Kerala.)