By Aparna Viswanathan
It is difficult to imagine or visualize Kalpana on the silver screen, without Jagathy by her side. Such was the magical palette the pair portrayed through their innumerable roles. When one half met with one of the most tragic accidents and forced to leave the screen (though temporary) every Malayalee did shed silent tears. Now, with the other half erased off the screen permanently, the loss movie goers carry in their hearts today is unexplainable.
It was indeed shocking to wake up to such a tragic loss, for 51 is no age to leave behind your legacy and move on. I have never had the opportunity to meet her in person, but she is one talent that has transcended generations without doubt. Like how my generation enjoyed watching her, the newer generation too loved to see her being cast in the New Gen movies. Her sinking in with the younger lot in “Bangalore Days” speaks volumes about her efficacy to showcase what she knows best. The eighties saw the birth of a comedian and the nineties saw “the Kalpana wave” slowly and firmly establish itself.
Sometimes, when I had a bad day or was feeling not too well, I would turn to YouTube only to type “kalpana movie scenes” and the next minute I’d see myself energized. That was the energy, spirit and strength she conveyed through her characters, be it comedy or tragedy. The dignity she carried in not discussing her personal troubles or health issues in public shows how much she wanted people to remember her as a dignified human being.
When I look back at her movies, it looks difficult to take out one of two characters and call it outstanding. Every movie she did has left a space and mark in our hearts and I am sure we will continue to play the roles, dialogues and scenes of her from time to time.
When I watched “Charlie”, it was difficult for me to accept the character role she adorned for we always wanted our dear Kalpana to make us laugh beyond our capacities. But the way she essayed the character made all of us leave the theatres wide mouthed. It proved she was starting to live her dream of essaying character roles with ease and elan, thus wanting to bury her image of an all-time comedian.
I would not be doing justice to her by picking one or two movies from the several she has essayed over the last three decades. I can only say “the Kalpana wave” will continue in the generations to come and she will continue to lift many moods on every cloudy day and like many I thank her for having the strength to make many hearts lighter even when she was carrying a storm inside her. Salutations to your grit and talent.
Aparna Viswanathan is a former journalist, a serial entrepreneur and consultant in communication and social intelligence in educational institutions and social enterprises.