Thopil Ajayan, the director of the Malayalam classic Perumthachan, passed away on Thursday. He passed away at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. Ajayan will be cremated on Friday. Ajayan is survived by wife Dr Sushama, and children Parvathy and Laksmi. He was the eldest son of yesteryear Malayalam film director, playwright and screenwriter Thoppil Bhasi.
Ajayan’s only feature film as a director was Perumthachan, which was released in 1991. The critically acclaimed film won him and the film numerous awards, including the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director, the Kerala State Film Award for Best Debut Director and the Kerala State Film Award for Best Popular Film. In 1992, the film was also nominated for the Golden Leopard award at the Locarno International Film Festival.
Ajayan started his career as a camera assistant. He later worked as associate director along with Thoppil Bhasi, Bharathan and Padmarajan in movies such as Panchavadi Palam, Ente Upasana, Oridathu and Sarvakalashala. In addition to directing numerous documentary films, Ajayan had also worked as a cinematographer for Tamil films. He did his diploma in film technology from the Adayar Film Institute, which is now known as MGR Government Film and Television Training Institute in Chennai.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his condolence note said that Ajayan had captured the hearts of cinema lovers with the only film that he ever directed, Perumthachan. He also said that Ajayan gained fame and received State awards after the film. With MT Vasudevan Nair’s screenplay, Ajayan was able to transform Perumthachan into a visual feast with a lot of artistic value. Working in the era of Bharathan, Padmarajan and other renowned directors, Ajayan also displayed his skill in documentary filmmaking, the CM added.
Perumthachan, the 1991 drama written by MT Vasudevan Nair, is based on a Kerala folklore. While Thilakan played the titular role, Prashanth, Monisha Unni, Vinaya Prasad, Nedumudi Venu and Babu Namboodiri played pivotal roles in the film.