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vigathakumaran malayalam movie, vigathakumaran
Vigathakumaran English: The Lost Child is a 1928 Indian silent film written, produced and directed by J C Daniel He also played the role of hero in the movie A social drama, Vigathakumaran was the first Malayalam feature film and J C Daniel is considered as the father of Malayalam film industry for this work This movie is also credited as the first Indian social drama feature film No known copy of the film exists, making it a lost film


  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Release
  • 5 Legacy
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


Chandrakumar, son of a rich man in Trivandrum is kidnapped by the villain Bhoothanathan to Ceylon The efforts of his parents to find him do not succeed and Chandrakumar is brought up as a labourer in an estate The estate owner, who is British, takes a liking to him and in time, Chandrakumar rises to the post of Superintendent At this time Jayachandran, a distant relative of Chandrakumar happens to come to Ceylon Incidentally, he is robbed of all his belongings by Bhoothanathan Stranded, he gets acquainted with Chandrakumar and they become close friends They come to Thiruvananthapuram where Chandrakumar's sister falls in love with Jayachandran Meanwhile Bhoothanathan attempts to kidnap her and the duo's timely intervention saves her A scar on the back reveals Chandrakumar's identity which eventually leads to the happy reunion of the family


  • J C Daniel as Jayachandran
  • P K Rosy as Sarojini
  • Johnson as Bhoothanathan
  • Sunder Raj as Chandrakumar


JC Daniel was interested in martial arts and was an expert in chelambatam, the traditional martial art of southern Travancore He published an English book titled Indian Art of Fencing and Sword Play in 1915, when he was 15 Daniel was well aware of the scope of cinema as a public medium He wished to popularise chelambatam by harnessing the popular influence of cinema At that time the common mass of Kerala were not even aware of cinema, hence the idea was quite a challenge He took the challenge and left to Madras now Chennai to learn techniques of film-making and to acquire necessary equipments Madras was the budding centre of film production in South India and had the only permanent talkies in South India, named Gaiety which was established in 1912 However, he could not get what he wanted from Madras and was even denied permission to enter various studio premises in there That didn't make him to give up He travelled to Bombay now Mumbai, the centre of Hindi cinema production He asked the studio owners for entry claiming that he is a teacher from Kerala and wanted to teach his students about cinema and got entry to the studios there He could gather enough knowledge and equipments for film production from Bombay and came back to Kerala to fulfil his dream The film was finally shot in his own studio

In 1926, JC Daniel established the first film studio in Kerala named The Travancore National Pictures It was near the present Public Service Commission office, Pattom, Trivandrum He made money for the purpose by selling a piece of land in his name for 4 lakh British Indian Rupees With all set, he started production works of the film of his dreams He wrote the script and titled it Vigathakumaran literally translated as The Lost Child He directed and wielded the camera for the film, which was mute He was also the protagonist in the film He also did most of the post production work including editing The theme of the film was of social significance and was one of the early films in that genre Most of the Indian films at that time were based on stories from the puranas and films with social themes were scarce The film was shot using a debrie camera

The first Malayalam actress was a scheduled caste labourer named P K Rosy from a place called Thayycaud near Trivandrum The cinematographer of the film was Lala a Britisher She used to come with lunch to act in the movie and go for her work in the evening Daniel had earlier signed an actress from Bombay named Lana to act in the heroine role Another important role was played by Johnson, who is the father of actress B S Saroja Daniel's friend Sundar Raj also acted in a pivotal role in the film


The release date of the film is unknown There are 2 dates proposed

The film was released on 7 November 1928 Vigathakumaran was exhibited in Trivandrum at the Capitol Theatre at 6:30 pm on 23 October 1930 The theatre was located opposite the present day AG's office near the present day State Legislature Building in the centre of Thiruvananthapuram city The screening was inaugurated by Adv Malloor Govinda Pillai Since it was a silent movie, there was an announcer at the theatre who would explain the story and the situation Despite being the first film made in Kerala and the social significance of the film, it faced the wrath of certain Hindu orthodox groups in Kerala, due to the presence of a woman in the film At that time acting in films were considered as an act at par with prostitution It was a period when female roles in even theatre were played by males When Vigathakumaran was released at Capitol Cinema in Thiruvananthapuram, she was not allowed into the theatre as upper-caste Hindus, outraged that a converted dalit could play a Nair lady in the film, created a ruckus During the screening, stones were pelt on the screen, damaging it The movie was also exhibited in Alleppey at the Star Theatre Alleppey being one of the most important port towns in Kerala during that time, the audience were more liberal They received the movie with exhilaration There was a minor glitch when the screen faded and the audience booed The announcer explained that since this is the first Malayalam film, there will be some minor problems and the audience received the statement with applause It is said that JCDaniel himself came to Alleppey with the film box, since there was only one print

Vigathakumaran Invitation Letter

The film was also screened at Quilon, Trichur, Tellichery and Nagercoil The film did only a moderate business at the box office and the collections were way less than the expenditure

Females acting in films or theatre were considered at par with prostitution at the time Angry at a Dalit lady portraying an upper caste Nair on screen, some of the orthodox people burned down the heroine, Rosy's hut She fled to Tamil Nadu where she got married and spent the rest of her life Nobody knows the whereabouts of Rosy after she left Trivandrum It was only recently that her photo was retrieved from Malloor Govinda Pillai's diaries

After the film's failure at the box office, Daniel suffered from debts and to overcome the situation, he had to sell his equipments and close down his studio Despite the setbacks, Daniel went on to make one more film, a documentary on martial arts, Adithadi Murai He was completely bankrupt after the completion of this film Almost a pauper, he left Trivandrum to seek a livelihood Daniel spent the rest of his life as a dentist at Palayamkottai, Madurai and Karaikudi

The Kerala Government initially refused to give Daniel any honour because JC Daniel was born and also later settled in Kanyakumari district which later became a part of Tamil Nadu, in 1956 The Government's version was that if Daniel wanted any financial assistance, he had to apply for it from the Tamil Nadu Government At the far end of his life, he had told R Kumaraswamy, the editor of the film magazine Nana: "Malayalam cinema is a thriving industry now But never have anyone bothered to recognise me as someone who made a film all by himself in those days As for the new generation, they don't know me But it is not their fault, I soothe myself" Long after Daniel's death in 1975, as an afterthought or penance, the Kerala Government instituted the J C Daniel Award in 1992, as a part of the Kerala State Film Awards, to honour lifetime achievements in Malayalam cinema Daniel is now known as the father of Malayalam cinema The failure of Vigathakumaran is attributed to it being a silent film


A lot of literary and cinematic works have been made, based on the life of J C Daniel and the making of Vigathakumaran Nashta Nayika is a novel by Vinu Abraham which details the life of P K Rosy, the heroine of Vigathakumaran The film was remade in 2003

In 2013, Kamal wrote and directed a biopic on JC Daniel titled Celluloid The film details the struggles of Daniel to produce and exhibit Vigathakumaran, while plunging into financial crisis The film, based partially on the novel Nashta Naayika by Vinu Abraham and the Life of J C Daniel, a biography by film journalist Chelangat Gopalakrishnan, also deals with the life of Rosy, the lead actress in Vigathakumaran Prithviraj plays the role of Daniel, while Mamta Mohandas plays his wife Janet and newcomer Chandni plays Rosy The film generated criticism over its subtle reference to an IAS Officer and the then Kerala Chief Minister, which purportedly points to the bureaucrat and writer Malayattoor Ramakrishna Iyer and K Karunakaran, who allegedly worked together to deny J C Daniel credit for his contribution to Malayalam cinema since he was a Nadar Christian Author and civil servant N S Madhavan and D Babu Paul, former Chief Secretary of Kerala have pointed out factual inaccuracies in the film's depiction of Malayattoor and Karunakaran


  1. ^ https://timesofindiaindiatimescom/city/kochi/How-Vigathakumaran-was-lost-to-history/articleshow/18505051cms
  2. ^ https://booksgooglecoin/booksid=rF8ABAAAQBAJ&pg=PA1862
  3. ^ https://booksgooglecoin/booksid=Pc1DCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA116
  4. ^ Weblokam - Profile: Page 1
  5. ^ Biography Archived 6 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b c d cinemaofmalayalamnet - Biography Archived 6 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ http://wwwm3dbcom/node/22656
  8. ^ http://wwwthehinducom/entertainment/movies/locations-in-thiruvananthapuram-that-have-become-familiar-images-in-malayalam-movies/article21572284ece
  9. ^ a b c Weblokam - Profile: Page 2 Archived 29 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ http://wwwthehinducom/news/national/kerala/tracing-evolution-of-malayalam-cinema/article21292834ece
  11. ^ http://wwwmathrubhumicom/movies/flash_back/183596/#storycontent
  12. ^ "The forgotten star - The Hindu" 2017-08-27 Retrieved 2017-08-27 
  13. ^ http://wwwepwin/journal/2017/49/perspectives/casting-caste-dalit-identity-papilio-buddha-and-malayalam-cinemahtml
  14. ^ http://wwwthehindubusinesslinecom/blink/know/women-in-film-industry-no-level-playing-field/article9587679ece
  15. ^ http://wwwthehinducom/2005/10/23/stories/2005102311400400htm
  16. ^ a b /2010081451180200htm "New media misrepresents role of women: Kumar Shahani" The Hindu 2010-08-14
  17. ^ http://wwwhindustantimescom/books/regional-cinema-matters-beyond-bollywood-looks-at-rich-history-of-south-indian-cinema/story-I9OCHd2qrFGxMDv43wX4KIhtml
  18. ^ http://wwwthehinducom/features/metroplus/history-in-retrospect/article5433586ece
  19. ^ http://wwwthehinducom/features/cinema/the-lost-life-revisited/article4515992ece
  20. ^ a b c d Saraswathy Nagarajan 11 October 2012 "Flashback in tinsel town" The Hindu Retrieved 11 May 2013
  21. ^ http://wwwthehinducom/lf/2003/03/15/stories/2003031504780200htm
  22. ^ a b "Barbs in ‘Celluloid’ lead to bloodletting" The Hindu Retrieved 11 May 2013
  23. ^ "Row over Kerala award-winning film ‘Celluloid’" Gulf News Retrieved 11 May 2013
  24. ^ "N S Madhavan against Celluloid movie" DC Books Retrieved 11 May 2013

External links

  • Vigathakumaran on IMDb

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