By Mrinalini Menon
Over 300 filmsâ€”including six in Tamil and one in Telugu. National Award for Best Supporting actress, sister of equally talented Urvashi and Kalaranjini. Probably the only actress who could match wits with Jagathy Sreekumar. Kalpana. We bring you a few of our favourites from her long list of memorable roles. Not in any particular order.
Charlie: She plays Mary who is pushed into flesh trade by her husband. Charlie meets her by accident and when he hears her story, he decides to bring some sunshine into her life. He affectionately calls her Queen Mary. Itâ€™s also her birthday and on a dingy boat, they cut a fried fish and celebrate the day. She hardly takes much of screen time, yet Kalpana makes a poignant impactâ€”using very little words to convey and masking her sorrows with a smile. Itâ€™s one of the best scenes of the film.
Bangalore Days: As Kuttanâ€™s mother, Kalpana unravelled a completely new facet to her. She is a practical, no-nonsense woman. When her husband unceremoniously walks out of their home, instead of mourning, she decides to make the most of it. The scene where she locks the door and declares her plan of action to Kuttan is hilarious. Also love her gradual makeover from the confines of a village to being part of a metropolis. Recall that scene where she plays rummy with her flatmates and casually tells Kuttan to order pizzas for all of them?
Bridge: They live in a rundown home, struggling to make ends meet. Kalpana plays a woman who, after having taken care of her husbandâ€™s old mother for years, is unwilling to shoulder the responsibility again and forces her husband to abandon her. Apart from looking the part in a crumpled sari, unkempt hair and tired face, Kalpana internalises the character, making us empathise with her woes instead of cursing her callousness.
Spirit: She is the miserable wife of a chronic alcoholic. Itâ€™s an interesting casting, similar to her character in Bridge, as we donâ€™t really associate misery and pain with an actress who has always been busy making us laugh. But she effectively broke that image, making us believe she was really living the part.
Ishtam: SI Mariyamma hates roadside Romeos and is excited when she gets hold of them. She has her own ingenious methods to tame themâ€”and itâ€™s impossible to imagine any other actress pulling this off in Malayalam cinema. Kalpana brings in her superb comic timing, yet keeps her â€śfearless copâ€ť act intact. Donâ€™t we just love that scene where Dileep, on recognising his old senior from college, starts to narrate an embarrassing incident and a red-faced Mariyamma begs him not to reveal that side of the story?
Peruvannapurathey Visheshangal: Itâ€™s one of our all-time favouritesâ€”Mohini, the cute and bubbly daughter of a teashop owner. She is constantly falling in and out of love and keeps darting shy glances at any prospective male she fancies. It might be in the form of slipping in an extra boiled egg into someoneâ€™s plate. Kalpana lends an innocent comicality to it, like only she can.
Innnathey Programme: Minikutty is very similar to Mohini in thinking and appearance. Guileless and unintentionally funny. Love that scene where she asks her aunt rolling her heavily made-up eyesâ€”â€śAmmayi, ippo enney kanda sreedeviye poleyilley?â€ť
Dr Pasupathy: She is the uber cool UDC Kumari, a panchayath clerk, who has the men in the village eating out of her hands. Kalpana brings the comic element without much effort--in over-sized goggles, sleeveless blouse and plain yellow chiffon saris, she is a treat to watch. Check out the scene where she flutters her eyelashes at a smitten Jagadeesh.
This article was first published in Fullpicture.in. The News Minute has syndicated the content. You can read the original story here.