The faded picture here shows me as a stuntman in an old Malayalam movie. I polevaulted on to the 10-foot-high wall of a fortress in that film for Prem Nazir. In the picture you see me wearing Nazir's costume. I was studying third year BSc at that time. The entire class, including four of our teachers, had come to see the shooting of me jumping over the leaping fire in the moat around the fortress to reach the top. It was a crucial scene. On reaching the top of the fortress and vanquishing a demon rested Nazir's chances of winning Sheela's hand. He pulls out a flagstaff, his expression displaying his determination and lunges forward. From that moment the shot is from behind and I take over the action. I did the jump clean first chance. Looking back I see how risky it was. There would never have been a second chance. The entire shooting crew applauded when I landed on top of the fortress. My classmates too applauded. Among them was a girl whom I had loved from the time we were in school. I remember seeing her eyes sparkle when stunt director Thyagarajan hugged me for the perfect jump. "My hero!" her eyes said...
I found this picture the other day when I was searching for my certificates among my old papers. The writing at the bottom-left corner of the frame says the picture was taken on February 5, 1977. Jijo Punnoose (son of Navodaya Appachan and director of 'My Dear Kuttichathan') took the picture. It is his handwriting. He was one of my classmates. There were four of us always moving as an inseparable team while in college. He was one of them. Another team member Anil Surana is now a prosperous businessman in Bangalore. Anil, after leaving college, acted in a couple of Jijo's films. The fourth was Raju, whose daughter Navya Nair is a very fine film artiste--in fact, the leading heroine of Malayalam movies until two years ago when she stopped acting following her marriage.
The girl with the sparkling eyes about whom I spoke is now a grandma. In the class the day after the shooting, Jijo gave this photo to her. You may notice that the photo is slightly torn at the bottom left corner. I had tried to snatch it from her hands, causing the damage. She had preserved the picture all these years along with our certificates and some other miscellaneous papers, including certain very embarassing poems I had written to her those days.