Kochi: It was a simple yet rich tribute to M T Vasudevan Nair as four writers of a generation who grew up reading him shared how they admired the literary giant of Malayalam. T D Ramakrishnan, E Santhoshkumar, K Rekha and Francis Noronha spoke about how MT influenced their life and writing at ‘MT Kalam – Navathi Vandanam’, an event organised by Manorama Online to honour the legendary writer who turned 90 this year.
Ramakrishnan, who rose to fame with his bestselling Francis Ittikora, remembered how MT influenced him much before he turned to writing and how a letter from the writer encouraged him to keep writing.
“MT’s novels helped me understand the Malayalam language and the Kerala life better. I started writing late. I published my first novel when I was 45. I sent a copy of my first novel to MT. Surprisingly he read it and sent me a letter. I still keep it as a treasure. There were only a few words. But they gave me immense strength and confidence. I look upon him as a guru,” Ramakrishnan said. He said ‘Manju’ was his favourite MT novel.
Santhoshkumar said his writing was influenced by MT. He remembered that his first short story was published in Mathrubhumi weekly when MT was its editor. He said to know MT’s greatness, one just have to imagine Kerala’s social and cultural life without him. Santhoshkumar hailed MT as a great writer, orator and editor.
Rekha lauded MT as the ‘managing editor’ of Malayalam. She thanked MT for prominent Indian writers to Kerala’s Thrissur as he helmed the Thunchan Smaraka Kendram.
Noronha honoured the writer with an emotional tribute. He said it was MT’s novels that brought him back to life from a severe health condition when he was young.
“I started reading MT at a time when my life was draining out like a sack filled with sand and punctured at the bottom. It was MT’s novels like ‘Kalam’ and ‘Randamoozham’ that brought me back to life. Kalam filled me with love,” he said.
The session was moderated by writer and senior journalist K C Narayanan. Sharing his 45-year-old relationship with MT, Narayanan remembered prompting the Jnanpith winner to write an autobiography, though in vain. He recollected how MT ended up writing autobiographical articles focussing on his life in cinema. Narayanan remembered MT’s ‘Vanaprastham’ as his favourite story.
MT attended the event along with wife Kalamandalam Saraswathy, daughter Aswathy, son-in-law Sreekanth and grandson Madhav.
Filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, actors Mammootty and Mohanlal were among those who attended the event at Hotel Le Meridien in Kochi. Manorama Online organised the event in association with Joy Alukkas. The event is supported by Muthoot Finance.