Aami releases this Friday. It is one of the most awaited films of this year, not in least because of the controversies surrounding the eponymous character. Kamala Das has attained almost mythic proportions in the Malayali imagination that is starved of diverse icons of women writers. While we don’t know if Kamal will do justice to her story, we do take a moment to remember the other memorable portrayals of women writing on-screen. Do take a moment to wonder why they are so few.
Ammini (Aaranyakam; 1988): The delightfully reclusive 16-year-old who loves talking to herself and writes long love letters to Basheer and Madhavikutty. Ammini probably is that teenager we all aspired to be. MT Vasudevan Nair sketches her with mirth, madness and a certain mystery. She has all the makings of a future Madhavikutty—intense, quirky and unpredictable. In fact, Ammini is the kind of well-rounded woman who deserves a spin-off movie of her own.
Nandini Menon (Pakshe; 1994): She is introduced as an aspiring writer, whose literary career starts off with little jaunts of fiction that appear in regional dailies. When her love remains unfulfilled, Nandini, we are told, choses to stay unmarried and chase her dream as a writer, winning several accolades and remaining happily single. One of those rare depictions of women, when her happiness goes beyond finding that perfect man. Shobana, in crisp cottons, is all grace and charm in this one.
Rajalakshmy (Ezhuthapurangal; 1987): She has all the trimmings of a quintessential celluloid writer in this Sibi Malayil film scripted by Lohitadas. She is a feminist, finds herself lost in the city, writes deep poetry and has no qualms in calling it quits with her fiancée when she feels he isn’t respecting her work.
Malavika Verma (Rappakal; 2005): In this Kamal film, Malavika Verma is an archetypal writer—a loner, unhappily married, trying to find comfort through her fictional stories. With thick dark glasses and a perpetually melancholic face, she seems to be a watered-down version of Kamala Das. There is a hint about a mild infatuation towards the Karyasthan in her writings.
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