The Forgotten First Lady of Malayalam Cinema: PK Rosy's Legacy Revisited

'Google honored the Dalit actress on the occasion of her 120th birth anniversary on 10th February, with a special doodle'
The Forgotten First Lady of Malayalam Cinema: PK Rosy's Legacy Revisited

In the year 1903, a seminal moment occurred in the annals of human history as the Wright brothers accomplished the inaugural powered flight. Coincidentally, in the same year, PK Rosy was born in Kerala. However, the restrictions imposed by her caste prevented her from soaring as an actress. Unfortunately, her initial foray into the profession was met with a disastrous outcome.

A Natural Inclination Toward Acting

Rosy, hailing from the Pulaya caste, traditionally known for their grass-cutting endeavors, developed a love for performing arts at a young age. She was trained in the traditional art form of Kakkarissi Natakam and soon discovered her fervor for acting.

In Kiran Ravindran's documentary, "The Lost Child," her cousin Madhavi recollects Rosy's fervor for acting and her eagerness to attend Kalari, a traditional school for the performing arts.

In 1928, J.C. Daniels, a Christian director, revolutionized the Malayalam film industry with the release of the first feature film in the language, "Vigathakumaran." He not only produced and directed the film, but also played a lead role.

However, acting was considered a disreputable profession for women from upper castes and was often associated with loose morals. Nevertheless, Daniels made the bold decision to cast Rosy, whom he met at a drama company in Thycaud, Thiruvananthapuram, in the role of an upper-caste woman. This choice, however, resulted in widespread controversy and dissent.

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