Kerala: John Paul, dean of screenwriters, is no more | Kochi News

KOCHI: Veteran screenwriter John Paul, who along with directors like Bharathan, Padmarajan and Mohan helped reinvent Malayalam cinema in the late 70s and 80s by harnessing powerful visual storytelling on visceral and thought-provoking themes, has died Saturday. Paul (72) had been on treatment for various conditions for some time.
With no formal literary education or training, Paul’s quirky and compelling screenplays stem from his all-consuming passion for cinema, of which he remained a wide-eyed student until the end. An ardent learner as he was, the ever approachable Paul has also mentored some of the biggest names in the Malayalam film industry.
Beginning his career by writing the story of “Njan Njan Mathram” directed by IV Sasi in 1978, Paul wrote a hundred screenplays, notably for “Yathra”, “Vidaparayum Munpe”, “Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam” and “Ulsavapittennu”. . Over a career spanning more than four decades, Paul has been associated with several generations of filmmakers and changing aesthetic tastes. His adaptability was one of his main strengths.
“Paul raised the status of Malayalam cinema”
Paul teamed up with directors like Bharathan and Mohan to give Malayalam cinema some of its most memorable films of the 1980s. “Minnamingunte Nurunguvettam”, “Keli”, while “Vidaparayum Munpe”, “Rachana”, etc. were written by him for director Mohan.
He had also written screenplays for PN Menon and KS Sethumadhavan. Paul filmed produced with ‘Oru Cheru Punchiri’, a film written and directed by MT Vasudevan Nair, which won numerous awards. At a time when MT and Padmarajan dominated as screenwriters, Paul managed to find his own place in Malayalam cinema.
Born to PV Paulose and Rebecca on October 29, 1950 in Cochin, Paul earned a master’s degree in economics from Maharaja’s College, Kochi. Before getting into screenwriting, Paul worked as a bank clerk. As Paul himself later revealed, he began his career as a bank officer swearing that “it will not be from banking that I will retire”.
Paul had been active in cultural spheres until his last days. He has also been associated with various film company movements. In the mid-1970s, Paul had worked as a reporter for a film magazine in Kochi. This career became an umbilical cord connecting him to Mollywood. It was Paul’s acquaintance with IV Sasi during his days as a journalist that later paved the way for his film career.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Education Minister V Sivankutty, Opposition Leader VD Satheesan and actor Manju Warrier were among those who expressed their condolences over Paul’s death. In its message of condolence, the CM hailed him as a talented filmmaker who has elevated Malayalam cinema to the zenith of creativity.
Paul is survived by his wife Aisha Elizabeth and daughter Jisha. The body will be kept for public homage at Ernakulam Town Hall from 8am to 11am and later at Chavara Cultural Center on Sunday. Then the body will be taken to his residence in Maradu. The funeral will be held at St Mary’s Soonoro Church, Elamkulam at 4 p.m. The funeral will take place with the honors of the police.