At the time the Institute was teeming with lot of Malayalis –John Abraham, Devassy (Direction – 1969) P.Bhaskaran Unny, G. Sadasiva Panickkar and A. Kabeer Rawther (Direction – 1970) K.G.George (Direction – 1971) M.Azad ( Screenplay writing – 1970) C. Murlidharan (Sound recording – 1970) and C. Ravindranath Menon ( Ravi Menon) ( Acting – 1970)
Though I, George and Ravi Menon were in the first year we had good rapport with our seniors from Kerala. Azad and Kabeer Rawther were always willing to act as our Godfathers and filled us with their worldly wisdom. One most unassuming person whom I met at the Institute was Raman Nair, who at that time was working at the Film processing laboratories. He was a very mild and soft spoken person who was always ready to help you with his worldy wisdom. He was such a low profile person, I was surprised to learn much later that he was the younger brother of Film Archives P.K.Nair and had passed out from the Institute in the Editing 1966 Batch! Years later while we both settled in Thiruvananthapuram we had opportunity to work together and meet occassionaly. Unfortunately he is no more as he had died a few years back unsung and to me it is still a mystery as to why he worked in the film processing after doing the Editing course?
The most notable person at that time was none other than John Abraham. Many of my encounters with John always ended with my parting with some money for his daily need of “Tarra” the local brew. Most of the time he will be high and with his long hair and beard and unwashed clothes he was a real Hippie! Out of fear, I always avoided crossing his path. But I had to face him on the day when we juniors gave our seniors a farewell party.
To beard the lion in his den, I thought that I should also have a few drinks at the party so that I will be on par with John! But I was just a novice when it comes to consuming hard liquor. Earlier, I had never taken more than a peg and that too just to feel the taste of it. In the party I gulped two or three pegs of rum and joined the fun. But I soon passed out resulting in a hangover and severe head ache next morning!
Myself and Kabir Raother - 40 years later in 2008
The above photo was taken recently at the get together of FTII Graduates in Thiruvananthapuram. ( Note the change in the spelling of Kabir's name)