Goodbye Uncle: Tributes pour in for John Paul from Malayalam cinema artists
John Paul, screenwriter of over 100 Malayalam films, died of an illness on Saturday 23 April.
For a man who always had plenty of stories to tell about his colleagues, John Paul, screenwriter of a hundred Malayalam cinema films, received long, loving tributes from his bereaved colleagues, when he is dead unexpectedly from an illness at the age of 71 on Saturday 23 April. From the many memorable screenplays he wrote in the 1980s and 90s to the personal relationships he had with them, film industry artists have shared a lot in the obituaries posted on their pages. He was, as many accounts suggest, the uncle of people in the Malayalam film industry.
Actor Kunnchako Boban was one of the first to pay tribute, describing John Paul as “The man, the talent…who gave birth to so many moving films, who remained in the hearts of all those he met, who had unparalleled control over language and literature…the man we all lovingly called UNCLE!!!” He also added, “The great man who had a much bigger heart for the people around him…so much that we could feel his love even when he wasn’t around. We will miss your voice and your words. a lot… but your creations will say a lot about what you have done for the cinematographic and literary fraternity!! (sic).”
Manju Warrier, lead actress for years, wrote a few titles of movies that John wrote, ones that fit the occasion: yatra (Travel), Mizhineerpoovukal (teardrop flowers), Iniyum Katha Thudarum (The story will continue), Vidaparayum Munpe (Before saying goodbye), njan njan mathram (Just me), Ormakkayi (For memory). “So many movies that can make headlines now… A few days ago, I had visited John Paul sir in hospital, after knowing he wanted to see me. He told me he would come back healthy and we would make a movie together. . There was strength in those words beyond the weaknesses of his illness. Until a while ago, I too had believed in it (it would happen). Farewell,” Manju wrote.
Superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal wrote their condolences on their Facebook pages. Mohanlal said he was fortunate to have brought to life many characters created by John Paul, a rare genius who brought new sensibilities to Malayalam cinema through his strong storylines. He wrote that John captured the hearts of Malayalis with his sweet smile and sweeter language.
Actress Navya Nair, who recently made her comeback, wrote that she used to listen to John Paul’s interviews and programs with great interest, due to the clarity, language and wonderful experiences he shared. “For all the stories you’ve told and the timeless classics you’ve created, I have nothing but to thank you as a happy listener to your speeches and an admirer of (director’s) Bharathan-John Paul’s films”, she said.
Lead actors Jayaram, Mukesh and Manoj K Jayan also paid tribute. Manoj who played the main role in his film Chamayam – directed by the late Bharathan – wrote that he could never forget playing Anto in the film, which marked a turning point in his career. The big-hearted man was everyone’s uncle, Manoj writes of Jean-Paul. Kaattathe Kilikoodu, Ormakkayi, Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam are just a few of the many good films he has scripted, Manoj’s post said.
Actors Chemban Vinod, Vishnu Unnikrishnan, directors Zakariya and Madhupal also paid tribute. Madhupal wrote, “Forty years of Malayalam cinema has become a memory.”