Regardless of what generation a Malayali belongs to, unless they’ve lived in a time-warp, they would all know actress Kalpana for her ability to create a laugh-riot.
After her Just a few years after she acted in MT Vasudevan Nair’s Manju, Mollywood’s comedy king Jagathy suggested to her that she try her hand at comedy.
When he suggested this to her on the sets of Bharathan’s 1989 movie “Oru Sayahnathinteh Swapnam”, it came as a shock to her. On the humour scale among family members, she rated herself last. She said she always felt that her mother had the best sense of humour, followed by her deceased brother Kamal, and then her sisters Kalaranjini and Urvashi.
Nedumudi Venu had asked her to learn Kathakali because he felt she was blessed with a very expressive face, which could especially convey humour very well, and that she was the only one after Jagathy who had an excellent sense of comic timing.
When she did try her hand at comedy, the results were spectacular. In an interview to a Malayalam news channel, Kalpana had said that it was her role as Sub-Inspector Dakshayani in the 1991 blockbuster “Inspector Balram” that catapulted her to fame and gave her star value.
Five years later “Kudumbakodathi” ensured that she was considered a ‘must-have’ for any Malayalam movie aiming to tickle the viewer’s funny bone.
In a career that spanned over 300 films, Kalpana teamed up with Jagathy in around 57 of them. The pair was adored by audiences, making Kalpana believe that Jagathy brought out the best in her as an actor in a comic role.
Here are a few of our favourite comic roles in Malayalam movies, which still have viewers in splits every time they watch Kalpana in action:
UDC Kumari in Dr. Pashupathy
Guntur Parvathy in Kudumbakodathi
Swarnamayi in Aramana Veedum Anjoor acrehum
Playing twin roles as the brother-sister duo Ponappan and Ponamma in Pidakozhi Koovunna Nootaandu
Clara in CID Unnikrishnan
Kottarakara Komalam in Gandharvam