M K Kamalam, the first heroine of the first Malayalam movie ‘Balan’, passed away on 20th of April 2010,Kamalam, 86 passed away at her residence in Kottyam district yesterday, family sources said. The actress was not keeping well for some time.
She is survived by three daughters. Her husband V K Damodaran died a few years back.
Though her film career was short-lived, Kamalam created history by doing the lead female role in the first talkie, Balan, produced in 1938 by Modern Theatres, Salem.
Born in 1923 in a family which patronised art, Kamalam began her dancing and acting career through the stage doing roles in plays based on mythological stories, staged mostly during temple festivals.
It was the search by veteran director T R Sundaram for a woman artist
who could act, sing and dance with equal felicity that led him to choose Kamalam for the role in Balan.
Kamalam’s was the first Malayalam voice ever heard on the sound track of a film as her debut film was the first audio movie in the language.
“A film artiste’s career was full of challenges in those days, as there was no facilities like playback or dubbing then. Only those with born talent were spotted for roles. Certainly, a veteran director like Sundaram could have cast
Kamalam after being convinced of her talents,” said
Balagoplan, a film historian.
Kamalam, however, bid farewell to silver screen after acting in two more films, that too not in important roles.
Instead she chose to lead the life of a housewife, keeping aloof from the glitters of the tinsel world or media glare.
Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and Culture Minister M A Baby condoled the death of Kamalam.