Jagathy Sreekumar

Yesterday, at this time, I was waiting outside the ICU at the MIMS hospital, Calicut. I have only known him professionally and just for the past few years, but around me were those who have known him for decades. As we waited anxiously to know his condition after the accident, my thoughts rewound to the first time I met Jagathy Sreekumar.

It was on a busy film set and he had just packed up for the day. In a few minutes I narrated the story to him and asked him to be part of Manjadikuru. And he said yes. As simple as that. No pandering about, no “I have to check my dates”, no “Who is my co-star?”, no “Please discuss the terms with my manager” etc.

Closer to the date I wanted to reconfirm things but realised that he does not even carry a mobile number… he prefers to work on old fashioned trust!

Everyone warned me that with Jagathy Sreekumar, one has no idea what he will do once you call “Action”. This scared me a bit because I was quite particular about the character he was to play. But once on set it was clear that he was a director’s actor- completely adapting to the style of the director-in-charge. Very quick to understand the kind of film it was and sensitive to the kind of treatment we were creating, he fit right into the ensemble cast – not a mannerism was out of place. And within that scope he enriched and accentuated his character. A thorough professional.

After that ensemble experience, I was really keen to work with him again, on something that he could sink his teeth into. When Happy Journey (Kerala Cafe) was to happen, I had only one actor in mind. If he had said ‘no’, I wouldn’t have made that film.

Once again, I was on a busy film set narrating the story to him. This time his dates were completely booked out but he said that he would manage it along with the other shoots. Naively I said – “wont it tire you out?” He smiled and said “I promise you, it wont show in my performance”.

As we shot Happy Journey, I was in two minds about the climax – “should we reveal it was a joke or shouldn’t we?” He saw my predicament and reacted “Anjali, you can make your character a fool, but never make the audience out to be fools.”

Months later, I met him at Kerala Cafe’s screening at the Middle Eastern Film Festival. He was super excited as he told me all that had happened on the first day of the festival. I was shocked to know that it was his first Red Carpet experience – after some 1500 films! Surely he deserved better. As we watched the film, he sat next to me munching plenty popcorn and sipping cola like any movie-goer. When the audience broke into spontaneous applause during our segment – he turned to me “Anjali, this is the real award! Not those things you collect on some stage- enjoy it!”

Recently I was part of a biopic show Katha Ithu Vare (Mazhavil Manorama) on Jagathy Sreekumar. I went in all excited to surprise him but I was surprised instead. I think he spoke far more about me than I spoke about him! But I was really touched by the confidence he expressed in my work. Coming from someone like him, it mattered a lot to me.

A nurse interrupted my thoughts in the waiting room : “Are you from Jagathy Sreekumar’s family?”

I didnt know what to say. For a man who has given all he has to the industry, arent all of us his family members? It was clear that the audience too is a part of that family – when the doctors requested for blood, there were so many people, willing to offer it for him.

That’s when someone at the hospital said – “Jagathy Sreekumar belongs to everyone – He is a public asset.

Prayers that you get well soon Sir.

From your family.

 

 

74 thoughts on “Jagathy Sreekumar

  1. Hello,

    Just watched your interview by chance in the net and your reference to women in society and their conditions where you were alluding to the practice at different ages.

    I have a suggestion to make, just read a book called “Divine Mother Sree Rama Devi”, by Sreepada Theertha Swamikal and probably you will re-look at the perceptions about women, where they should be and want they can be. Or other books by/or Mother. It would be a eye-opener. Just a suggestion.

  2. Mrs Menon, I was deeply touched by this article. Read it soon after you posted it, I must have mentioned this to atleast 5 people! That is what you have in you, you make people talk about the things you want to tell others.. you tell, and you make people tell!! You should know better, hence the quesion to you, what is the real status of Jagathy Sir? Is he better? Would you know? Could you find out plz…. PS :- Congrats on ‘Manjadikuru’ & ‘Usthad Hotel’🙂

  3. an actor who enriched malayalam cinema for four decades, still lightens our hearts with his spectacular performances, it is a pity that people who nowhere near to him bagged so many awards including padma awards.

    His biggest awards are the position he commands in an average malayali’s heart and love and affection he earned through sheer his hardwork and performance.

    May Almighty bless us by bringinging hm back in his natural wits .

    Sincere prayers for his good health , earliest recuperation

  4. Praying…. praying…. praying for Shri Jagathy Sreekumar’s speedy recovery. May God give him back the health to come back in the industry with more vigor. Get well soon.

  5. I think our memory is short.As days pass I find it difficult to know about his progress from the net.His classic comedy scenes do not evoke the same laughter any more when I think that his condition is still critical.The last update about his health ,on the net was about two weeks ago.Hope he is doing well and will be back to make us laugh ones more.Prayers.

  6. I feel that the humor in malayalam movies is a class apart from the so called comedy in other Indian language cinemas.The humor artists who followed Jagathy also had to live up to that.He has provided us with hours of entertainment and relaxation and continues to do so.I hope he recovers and comes back with a bang to cheer us up.Its so contradictory to see the man who added one more rasam to the navarasangal has a nerve damage which makes him incapable of any expression.I pray for his speedy recovery.Yes the artiste does not belong to his family alone.He belongs to everyone who loves art.Thanks Anjali menon.We share your feelings.I follow up about dear Jagathy on the internet.I am unable to get beyond the last news which said he has diffuse axonal injury.My prayers.We are a family.Let me take this opportunity to say that Kerala cafe was one of the best movies that I saw last year.I can see a change coming.A change for the better.All the best.

  7. Anjali,

    Like me, most of Jagathy sir’s fans abroad will be anxious to know his exact current situation as we hear lots of stories of his recovering status which are not fully reliable. If you have any updates regarding his health condition which requires a lots of prayers to Almighty to bless him with the best, please share with us. Still praying for his speedy recovery.

    • Soja,
      I can only share what I have heard (from reliable sources) as I am not in Calicut at the moment. I am told that his physical well being has improved very much as the hospital medical intervention worked well. He is apparently aware of many things around him but he has yet to reach complete normal consciousness. So he requires a longer term rehabilitation which involves neuro-therapy and for this he has been shifted to Vellore.

  8. Anjaly Mam
    That was a beautiful narration…As u said me too noted who all came to see him in the hospital…its a pity…this is world good things will come only in good times…..
    Prayers that he will be alright soon…
    From the deepest of our hearts…..

  9. prayers are coming out of mind always, always google up to see for more soothing news about jagathy sir’s condition. This incident makes me feel that I love him more than a family. with the prayers, hope to see your action soon,

  10. Anjali,

    Really appreciate your note regarding Jagathy, it is not that same wordings everyone spits out in such situations. you have spoken from your heart from the marking made by that legand there. Really pray for his speedy recovery and return to the stardom.

  11. I am still fighting to hold back my tears…His acting is nothing below perfection…He displays his acting skills in such a meticulous manner…I never was,nor am,much of a film goer but still cant afford to miss him on screen for the next few months when he will be advised by the doctors to be on bed rest…I pray for a speedy recovery..Needless to say,it is so great of u to have actually gone to the hospital to see him..Shockingly,most of his colleagues haven’t still turned up apart from a handful of them…..

  12. Jagathy sir had made us cry whenever he had done such roles as in Moonnampakkam…but 99% of his roles were out and out comedies…where we ended up rolling on the floor laughing….also even when the films were bad we could never blame Jagathy sir …because he had excelled even in such “bad” films…

    That evening as i switched on the TV to see the news…some comedy scenes of some Jagathy movie was going on….and it was the first time in my life that I did not laugh seeing a Jagathy comedy scene on screen…!!!

    raghu

  13. Anjoli…..that was beautiful narration. little that i know if Ambilichettan ‘ …. as he us known to tge film industry & friends ….he is very much luved & respected by all. God will make him all right. God bless u for writing such good memories.

  14. That was such a lovely note. As far as we all know him, he is not someone who say things to please anyone!.. so they were real blessings to you Anjali…

    And yes.. he is from our family… we know him and love him just as a family member and not just an actor. He will be back to us so soon!! All our prayers….

  15. He might not have had any red carpet experience nor the so called superstar aura around him but the biggest asset he has is the respect and love he comments from the people of the state of kerala irrespective of caste, creed, religion, political affiliation, etc. I was deeply moved when i saw people standing up from their seats when the stretcher carrying Mr. Sreekumar (Jagathy) passed by through the aisle of the hospital. Anjali Menon has put it rightly- He belongs to everyone, He is a public asset.

  16. അദ്ദേഹം വളരെ വേഗത്തില്‍ ആരോഗ്യവാനായി തിരിച്ചു വരുവാന്‍ പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കുന്നു..

  17. Hi Anjali,

    Beautifully written piece. I hope and pray that Jagathy Sreekumar gets well soon. I have met him a few times and felt the same way as you during my interactions with him. According to me, he is on par with the best in the world When it comes to acting.

    Amongst your films I have watched only Happy Journey. Loved it. Is Manjadikuru and other films out on DVD? Can you also send me a list of your films including documentaries, if any?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Regards,
    Shanavas

  18. The day before this incident took place, I was watching this talkshow online! I was like, what the..really shocking..He will be back..with more energy and more exciting characters.

  19. Hello Anjali,

    I don’t know u nor Jagthy sir,but being a telugu married to a malayalee . I learned the language by watching his movies and enjoyed his character in each of his films. Let him get soon recovered and much more characters have to come on screen ,As a Fan and Audiance all r family members pray for his speed recover.

  20. My prayers are there for his FULL RECOVERY.. even to this day, his various characters
    brings laughters plenty.. Jagathy Sreekumar cannot be replaced. One loves to watch
    old films just coz he is there in it.. what a versatile actor, we still need him. God bless him.

  21. The way he has made all of us laugh with his god given gift his presenr situation is a temporary one. God jas his plans for him. His skill to make us happy at a time is a special one and so is he to all of us.

  22. wonderful article mam…we all want “Jagathy Sreekumar” back into the screen with his magical performances…..i am sincerely praying for his speedy recovery ……….

  23. wonderful article mam….we all need jagathy sreekum the living legend of acting back into the screen as soon as possible…i sincerely pray 4 hs speedy recovery

  24. Beautiful article Anjali…
    Thank you do much for bringing it out at the right time and also in a very sincere style…!

  25. he is a great actor in the world….nammmude govt ithuvare adhehathinu oru puraskaravum koduthittiia…..don’t be late….i am sure he wiil come back…

  26. വളരെ നല്ല കുറിപ്പ്‌ ..സന്ദര്ബതിനു യോജിച്ചത്‌..

    അദ്ദേഹം വളരെ വേഗത്തില്‍ ആരോഗ്യവാനായി തിരിച്ചു വരുവാന്‍ പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥിക്കുന്നു..

  27. I wish all the success to your films… But the most important thing today is a speedy recovery to Jagadheee chetan…. He has made me laugh and lightened my heart when I am down.. but the same person has made me sad and left me with a heavy heart due to his accident. God give him all the courage and support for his recovery and should see him in silver screen…

  28. ജഗതിച്ചേട്ടന്‍ എത്രയും വേഗം സുഖപ്പെട്ട് ഇനിയും പ്രേക്ഷകലക്ഷങ്ങളെ ആനന്ദിപ്പിക്കട്ടെ! എല്ലാ പ്രാര്‍ത്ഥനകളും.

  29. i pray for him too. i am sure he will recover soon coz he deserves way more than what he has seen and experienced.and he has so much more to give to world. so do i pray for you and people like you ,who value performance and art more above all and everything.let there be peace happiness and art everywhere.

  30. hii chechi…few days before i told u to be proud of what jagathy sir has told about u…Never ever expected of such an accident…as u said we all feel to be part of his family…Prayers for him to get well soon

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