THE AIR IN EDAPPAL, the town of ‘Artist’ Namboodiri, was dense. The heavy humidity of spring encourages lethargy, as was even the case for Namboodiri. Submitting to precisely what the weather demanded, he sat shirtless, with his lungi folded up to the waist, relaxing in a reclining chair. The tiles beneath our feet were cold, a reprieve from the heat, so I decided to sit on the floor, by his side. My companions Majeed and Madhu, the second of whom is Namboodiri’s nephew, sat on chairs facing him. He had agreed to meet us, despite not being in the best of health. His voice trailed when he tried to speak loudly.
Madhu asked him about the recently-released documentary on his life by the award-winning director Shaji N Karun, considered one of India’s greatest filmmakers. “Ah yes. They are doing something… ” he said. Karun’s debut film Piravi won the Caméra d’Or at the 1989 Cannes International Festival. Unprompted, Namboodiri added, “He has a great visual sense.”